Friday, January 9, 2009


Not even a day has passed since I went to the hospital for a CT scan, but already Dr. Birusingh, the head and neck doctor at Kaiser, has reviewed the images and recommended the next step for me to take.

The doc wants to schedule a biopsy. After an exchange of e-mails, he and I agreed that I would see him in his office on Monday morning at 9, with an eye on performing the procedure on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The timing Dr. Birusingh proposed is twisting my gut. My body is sick, right? So getting this procedure done sooner rather than later makes sense. That means having the biopsy on Tuesday.

But my brain is a little green and moldy around the edges, too.

See, I have a ticket to see a program called "Juvenile Mindrot: Inappropriate and Disturbing Kids' Cartoons" at the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax on Tuesday night. I can't imagine I'd be in any condition to watch banned cartoons in a room full of other sickos like me after spending time under the knife in the Kaiser operating room.

Dr. Birusingh will likely scoop or scrape tissue from my mouth and tongue during the operation. Once I emerge from the fog of anesthesia, something tells me it would be a good idea to avoid the risk of splitting my stitches with a vigorous laugh or two.

I'll decide which day to have the procedure on Monday when I see Dr. Birusingh face-to-face. Maybe he'll offer insight into what he saw in my scans from last night and that will help me decide whether I should move forward as fast as possible, or just fast.

By the way, I dropped by Kaiser early this morning to have blood drawn, pick up a few prescriptions and have the IV I got for last night's CT scan removed from my arm.

I walked up to the counter of the basement imaging center, held up a note that read "Uh, I think I was supposed to leave this behind last night," and pointed to the IV in my arm. The waiting area was full but I was allowed to leapfrog ahead of the other patients and see a nurse right away.

As soon as the nurse saw me, his face brightened. He said that he and I were in the same marathon training group several years ago. I sort of remember him from the training group, which had a hundred members or more, but he clearly remembered me.

"So are you still running marathons?" the nurse asked, as he yanked the tube out of my vein.

I bobbed my head vaguely, which counts as a fib. I haven't run a marathon since 2002, and with a G-tube swinging from my stomach and a tongue swollen to the size of Orca the Killer Whale, I don't have any marathons on the horizon. I have done some nutty endurance stunts on my bicycle, however, including three AIDS/LifeCycles, and hopefully a fourth in May.

Before I left, I scribbled a perky note to the nurse saying that it was great to see him again even though I can't quite pinpoint seeing him before at all.

When I get my voice back, and my tongue regains its agility, I'll come back to the imaging center, track him down and tell him the truth. With all of the time that I spend at Kaiser, I need to protect my reputation.

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