Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's new, pussyCT?

Caught flatfooted today by an e-mail I received from Dr. Birusingh, the head and neck surgeon at Kaiser.

I had forecast that no news about my condition would emerge this week, since my MRI was just five days ago and I was told to expect to wait a week for results. I checked in with the doc by e-mail yesterday, and just 30 minutes ago, I saw his response in the Kaiser message center.

Dr. Birusingh says that the review of my MRI scan shows swelling of the tongue and upper neck, and he recommends a CT scan of the neck "to more fully evaluate that area."

He continues: "Based on the CT scan, it may be necessary to have a surgical procedure to take a biopsy of that area."

"Biopsy" is a scary word. But it's not the first scary term I've encountered in my quest to get to the bottom of what's wrong with me. I'm not going to get all bent out of shape about it; instead, I'm happy that the MRI didn't come back normal, like the test last month.

Right after e-mailing Dr. Birusingh to say I want to have my neck looked at as soon as possible, I headed over to Wikipedia to learn about CT scans. (In yesterday's Family Circus, Dolly called the procedure a "CAT scan" but I'm not about to mimick the medical vocabulary of fictitious four-year-old.)

"CT" stands for "Computed tomography." The original name was "the EMI scan," because it was developed at a research arm of that British music company.

So the fortune that EMI made off of the Beatles in the 1960s may have bankrolled the research that led to developing the EMI scan in the early '70s. Who knew that when I plunked down my allowance for the "I Want to Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There" 45 in 1964 that I was making an investment that would reap dividends for me 45 years later?

As far as I can see, the CT scan doesn't look as intimidating as an MRI. Heck, if "CAT scans" are referenced in Family Circus, how uncomfortable can they be?

So ground is being gained on my case. Goo goo gajoob!

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