Monday, May 21, 2012

On the Eve of a Surgical Consultation

I don't like not knowing things. I don't like surprises, even good ones. It doesn't matter where or how my wife tries to hide my Christmas presents--I find them. After nearly 20 years of practice, I'm very good at making her believe I didn't know what was under the tree. That's not's a survival mechanism.
   I wasn't going to write this post, but I've already written about the scary medical tests:  Attitude Helps Even With Scary Medical Tests
   And I've already written about getting the results of those scary medical tests: Scary Medical Tests Were No Problem -- Now I Have Scary(ish) Results

   Tomorrow I meet with a surgeon for a consultation. He's going to tell me what should be done about the hardening and blockages of my carotid artery.
   I'm not scared. Scared isn't the right word for what I'm feeling. Anxious is a better word for what I'm feeling. I'm anxious to know what I'll have to do to solve the problem and remove the inherent dangers of having a major blood vessel not fully open. I've been researching the options. The options are pretty clear, and tomorrow's meeting will only clarify which option is best for me based on the results of the test.
   My anxiety is mundane and practical. I'm not very afraid that this problem will kill me. I'm not (very) afraid I'll die on the table if they have to do surgery. For one thing, lots of people have angioplasty, lots of people have stents put in, and lots of people have more drastic surgery. Almost all of them survive these things, and almost all of them are better off after the procedure than they were before.
   My anxiety has to do with whether or not I'll have to disrupt my work or writing schedule to take care of the problem. I worry that I'll have to spend time in the hospital--I've had my fill of that, between childhood epilepsy (which I beat) and Wernicke Enecphalopathy (which I beat as well). My anxiety comes from the unknown. I think, no...I'm pretty sure...I'll feel better when I know what the next step is, regardless of what it is.
   I'm less worried than my wife is. That's a little scary... She's a lot smarter than I am. If she's worried, that means I should be worried too. I'm lucky when it comes to worry about myself. I can turn it off. What I can't do is turn her worry off. I'll finish writing this and move on to some other thoughts. She won't feel better until I can produce a clean bill of health...and that's going to be a while even after my consultation tomorrow. Tonight I won't complain when she tries to share my side of the bed with me, and clutches me in her sleep. She's been doing that since last week when I found out there was a problem with my carotid artery. The first couple of nights I waited until she started to snore, then squirmed free like a trapped cat. Now I try to imitate my arms and legs and fall asleep along with them.
   My appointment is at 1:50 PM tomorrow at the cardio-vascular institute in a nearby town. I'm going to treat myself to a nice lunch at a good restaurant (Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth--you should go!), and probably eat a bacon cheeseburger with fries, and have dessert. Those things aren't exactly healthy eating, and at some point I'll probably have to decide whether eating them is a quality of life issue I'll be willing to give up. For now at least, no doctor has told me I can't have them.
   Soon it will be time for me to go to bed. I won't squirm like a cat to escape my wife's clutches. I won't lie sleepless with worry. I'll sleep, and sleep well. Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow's news is another topic, one I'll probably write about on this blog.
   Tomorrow is also a promise. It will be a good day.

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