Its not really a question of abuse these days, its more like what’s already been done was abusive – that is if you really want to go get all technical about it. But none the less no matter how you choose to view it this liver of mine has been quite abused. And now as it seems to be going through a midlife crisis of its own as it occasionally wants some random bits of attention or at least a few soothing words of encouragement while it chugs along processing my bile. Unfortunately however I am so unbelievably ignorant about this whole liver deal that when I was recently experiencing excruciating pains on my left side I decided to go see my doctor and complain about my liver acting up.
Ok, so I don’t know where my liver is. Big deal! Its not like I studied anatomy in high school or even something remotely like it. I took acid in high school and majored in smoking pot so if I come off a little too moronic it’s the acid. Well, at least that’s the best excuse that I can come up with and I’m sticking to it.
So anyway, here I was with my primary care doctor who’s surname has got ten letters and only one vowel leaving me forever slurring it around trying to pronounce it as if I have a clue as to what it should sound like. All the while pointing down at who knows what on my left side. Which is obviously my non-liver side and there I was making a fool of myself yammering on about it. Yet to show you what a compassionate professional this man is he didn’t laugh or point out my mistake until after I had finished stating that my liver hurt and couldn’t he do something about it?
Wherein with a concerned look on his face he then ever so politely indicated that that indeed wasn’t the region where little mister liver resided. Though I might also add that being the sneaky buggers that all members of the medical profession have always been he didn’t say – “but that’s where your pancreas rents space”. Or to save me a little face he could have said – “most people often mistake such pains that just turn out to be their kidneys mulching”. But no! Those bastards want to keep all that knowledge to themselves and who can blame them after slogging through a tediously boring ten years of medical school and internships and having to be some hot shot surgeon’s suture flunky. But what would have been the harm in affording me a quick lesson in organ placement, as in the long run what was I going to do? Open up my own practice or better yet operate on myself or others? I hardly think so!
So anyway there we were as he looked disapprovingly over his glasses at me and while typing excruciatingly slow on his computer with two fingers he asked if there was anything else that I needed looking at? Like what? Oh ghee I forgot, my heart tends to stop here and there and you know now that you mention it I haven’t had a bowel movement in a year or two? Really now, what did he expect? That I sit at home and wait until I’ve got more than one ailment so that in the name of saving ecological resources I try and economize my trips to the hospital?
Yet having said that the truth is that there is this bit of weirdness going on about my finger tips wherein they tend to crack and bleed but I had sort of chalked that up to a slight case of stigmata, and fearing that the cure would be nothing less than redemption from a holy inquisition I remained auspiciously silent. And while no doubt relieved from the burden of having to diagnosing yet another malady of mine that overbearingly concerned “I’m the doctor” look of his once again overtook his face and as he handed me a typed form he leaned over close to my ear and said. “Here, be a good little compliant patient and go downstairs to the lab and they’ll draw some blood and we’ll have a look at your liver functions and then in a week I’m sending you for more test in the radiology department.”
Radiology? What, an x-ray of my liver? Frigg’in barbarians these doctors are, always with the radiation and not to sound too ungrateful here, but what about the pain in my left side? What was that, phantom cirrhosis of the organ that’s not there or maybe its just a wee bit of anthropologic paranoia from my over reactive imagination? But then whose the doctor here anyway and what do you say to a nice prescription of valium so as to calm my fraying nerves during these moments of turmoil?
*Note to the reader: If you’re ever going to attempt to obtain any pharmaceuticals of the narcotic/euphoric nature be sure and never tell your doctor that you were once a dope fiend! They have tendency to remember such remarks no matter how casually one elicits them and forever ban you from attaining such substances, at least from them that is.
So anyway with a stern pragmatic warning on substance abuse still ringing in my ears off I went prepared to be pricked and prodded by some inept nurse who would never have made it as a junkie because if that was the way she found her own veins she’d a never gotten herself high. Yet for some blessed reason this time I got the reigning hematologist from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine who could spot a throbbing vein from twenty yards away and had me bleeding into a few million vials in no time flat. And while usually I am oh so happy to have another seemingly depleted artery back in business this time after the room started to spin a little I wasn’t too pleased so I grabbed my arm back and said enough’s enough you vampire! Which caused the entire lab crew to burst out laughing and with a little condescending pat on my head she made me go lay down and drink a grossly warm carton of high fructose orange juice.
Unfortunately it was the kind with a lot of pulp floating around in it, the type that claims its natural and all. But which I have a total aversion to as those strands of goo tend to tangle up in my tonsils and I just couldn’t take it anymore. So in a fit of noncompliance I stumbled out of the room and while gagging back tepid citrus bits I dashed out of the lab with a catheter needle still attached to my right arm and an IV line dragging limply behind me.
Now its Wednesday morning and like the printed directions that my physician had sent me home with have instructed me to do – I’ve fasted all night. Which means no usual morning coffee, which means no ability to focus and which means even less of an ability or even a slight desire to make anything close to good judgment calls. As is glaringly obvious because I’ve just driven erratically across town in a rather surly mood and now I have to sneak into the hospital through the back door, because last week the security guard manning the front door told me when I ran out in a spastic fit to never come back or he’d kick my ass. Which at the time I thought that that was a pretty harsh statement to be made from a guy who worked in a profession purportedly for healing people. But then maybe hospital security personnel don’t have to take that same Hippocratic Oath like doctors do? Or maybe it was just because I had been busy struggling to detach the IV and unintentionally had sort of screamed making a slightly disturbing scene as I dislodged its massive twenty gage needle from my arm on my way out the front door?
But whatever the case it had me taking the backstairs two at a time so that I could make it to the 3rd floor’s – Sonogram & X-Ray Department and while keeping one eye out for menacing sentries I enter room 5 and sit down to await my appointment. Wherein after a short wait a very attractive woman called my name and ushers me into a semi-dark room with a computer consol attached to a machine hovering over an examination table and she asks me to remove my clothes and I do so reluctantly before lying down on the pristine like white starched hospital linens that cover the top of the gurney.
And then she says. “Lay back and relax, I’m going to rub some warm lotion on you.”
And you know there’d been times when I’d have thought – cool! Or at least – way cool! But this wasn’t one of those times. And no matter how good looking this woman was I wasn’t feeling it and what’s the deal with the warm lube smeared across my stomach and I didn’t even know her name and why’d I have to be completely naked in order for her to look at my liver?
Then she turned off the lights!
There is nothing and I do mean nothing sensual like in the least about having a woman, attractive or not, press a big rubber spatula like object back and forth across your stomach while she murmurs “inhale” and “very good” as the warm gel sets up and begins getting cold and even though it was pitch black in the room I had my eyes squeezed shut as I impatiently waited for this ordeal to end. However in all fairness I must say that at least she didn’t gasp in horror when my overly abused liver decided to make its debut appearance on her computer’s monitor. Though even after she was all done and had walked out of the examination room I just laid there feeling pretty used and slightly gooey as it wasn’t over yet – I still had to somehow slip out of the hospital undetected without that thug of a security guard catching me.