Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Blood on the tracks
While waiting in line in the Oncology Department at Kaiser this morning, I unfolded the newspaper and skimmed the headlines.
Suddenly, a photo of President Obama touring the Forbidden City was bathed in a violent circle of blood. Seconds later —splortch!— another bombshell of blood fell on the paper. And another! And another! Run for cover, Mr. President!!
The blood was falling from two holes in my chin, where two weeks ago Dr. B1 sliced off slivers of skin for biopsies. The holes in my face have been extremely slow to heal, and I have been applying fresh bandages every day, but this was the first time that I've had a bleeding crisis in public.
At least I chose the right place for it to happen.
I hurriedly stepped up to the counter to get aid. By reflex, the woman said "Your Kaiser card, please," while staring at her computer monitor. Only after she glanced upward and saw my newspaper —now soaked almost to the edges in red— did she realize that this was a situation requiring intervention, and quickly.
She rose and told me to meet her at the door leading to the exam area. I moved quickly through the packed waiting room, keeping the paper below my chin to prevent blood falling upon anything other than Wednesday's New York Times.
Reunited, the woman and I walked quickly down the corridor, toward the nurses' station. I saw that the blood was dripping onto the floor, now. At least I wouldn't have to worry about getting lost when it was time to leave.
Two nurses —both of whom I recognized from my chemotherapy treatments last winter— directed me to sit in a reclining chair. One grabbed a large white towel and placed in on my chest while the other opened a cupboard and collected gauze, bandages and tape.
By the time that they were through, I looked like the Invisible Man. But the bleeding had stopped.
In all of the excitement, I didn't notice what happened to my newspaper. So it wasn't until deep into the evening, hours after my visit to Oncology was over, that I caught up with President Obama and how his visit to the Forbidden City went.
I submit my experience as evidence why print media can never completely be replaced by electronic newspapers. What good would a Kindle reading device have done me in a situation like I had this morning?
Some days, the Luddites win.
Note to my TP peeps: No, I haven't overlooked the fact that today's post tells you absolutely zip about my face time today with my oncologist. There was a lot to absorb, and I need some time to process it all. Come back later in the week.