Going to a new doctor’s office is the pits. I don’t know the waiting game, but judging by the crowd, it’ll be awhile. General surgery must be booming. Still, my luck, if I leave to find the bathroom, they’ll call me.
I try to read, but the old fella next to me insists on sharing his prostate history. After a detailed description of his pee problems, I’m reminded I must find a bathroom.
A bouncy blonde with a stethoscope swinging from her neck yells out my name.
Miss Cheerleader guides me to a room… and the scales. “Bathroom first,” I say. I return, ease onto the scales, eyes closed. “Don’t tell me, just write it, and use disappearing ink!”
She pops her gum. “Like, okay. Dr. Porter will be right with you.”
And he is.
I’m not prepared. This doctor looks like a giant asparagus stalk. He could model for Del Monte. He stands near seven feet tall, ducks as he enters the room, his hugeness adorned in green scrubs and shoe booties. His head’s covered with a green yarmulke-type hat, glasses shoved to his forehead, surgical mask dangling from one ear. He reaches to shake my hand and I shiver. His hands are the size of baseball mitts. These hands will remove my thyroid? Lord, help me.
We sit. His voice booms, superhero style. “You have multiple nodules on both thyroid lobes. These are seldom cancerous. It’s routine surgery, one night in the hospital. Don’t fret. I’m very good at what I do.”
What he’s saying sounds good, but I can’t concentrate on his words. Instead, I zone in on his nose hairs, how they creep toward his lip. EW! Hairs, like alfalfa sprouts, curl from his ears too!
I tune in, nodding, as he says “We’ll arrange everything.” He stands stoops to give a gentle hug. “Try not worry.”
That evening I tell my family, repeating the doctor’s words. “Routine surgery.”
It’s time! I’m in the OR. The anesthesiologist tells me to breathe deeply. Doc looms close, clad in his asparagus suit, and whispers, “You’ll be fine,” But the nose hairs… God, don’t let that be my last thought.
I’m in recovery, no voice. Thinking back, I panic. Did I insult Doc while he was armed with a scalpel? Did I poke fun at his nose and ear hair? Maybe he sliced my vocal chords to shut me up? I moan… the sound is reassuring.
I settle in my room… but somebody should’ve warned me.
Barfing with your neck slit is not good. I punch the call button… I punch harder. No one comes.
My husband walks in as I’m upchucking. He runs for help. Drags back a nurse. She tidies me, disconnects the IV pole, and escorts me to the bathroom. She vanishes. Hubby helps me back to bed.
“No one comes when I punch the button, DON’T LEAVE ME,” I croak. He holds my head as I hurl again. He jabs the button. IV hangs, pan waits. No one shows. He stabs again, hard. He’s ticked. “I’ll get someone.”
Hubby brings two nurses. They hook me back up, take my vitals. “Oh dear,” Nurse A says, “BP is up. Nurse B asks, “You’re having discomfort?” Duh! They increase my pain and nausea meds. I drift off, clutching hubby’s hand.
It’s morning. Nausea’s gone. BP down. Doc makes rounds, wearing his usual nose hairs. “Everything’s looking good. I’ll call you when reports are back. You can go home.”
Two days later my neck is purple, swollen, and ridged. I look like a deer in rut. Is this routine? I freak as I glimpse my chest and my 36-C longs. I’m the color of an eggplant! I call Doc. “Come in, now,” he says.
Doc prods my neck. “No big deal. Blood accumulates and pools. Happens sometimes. I’ll press it out of the drain area.
My husband goes pale. My gaze strays, drawn like a magnet. It’s the nose hairs again.
Doc jokes as he presses and sops, presses and sops. “You’re set for Halloween.” I want to yank out each nose hair. He patches me up. Sends me home.
Next week Doc calls. “All okay! No cancer!”
I do my happy jig. Superheroes come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.
Mine is a gentle giant in surgical green. Maybe nose hairs aren’t so bad. Still. I’m sending him a thank-you gift. The nose and ear clippers are on sale. It’s the least I can do.