Saturday, May 10, 2008

In That Same Vein

You know you're getting older when you use vacation days to get your doctors' appointments done. I scheduled two of them up near Mount Sinai Hospital yesterday in the driving rain with wind that blew my umbrella inside-out.

The first one was with the endocrinologist, to whom I was supposed to have returned in February.

"I wanted to see if I could lose the weight first."

"What have you been eating?"

"Trail mix."

"That's very fattening."



She's referring me to a nutritionist.

The other appointment was with a vascular surgeon who treats varicose veins. There's a new technique now where you can get them done in the doctor's office by laser surgery.

I met with the doctor, a woman about my age, and told her about this chronic pain I was getting on the side of my lower leg, like somebody had tried to kick me repeatedly in the shins and missed. I'd thought it could have something to do with a prominent, noodly-looking (and by-the-way unsightly but of course not it's just for cosmetic reasons) vein above my knee.

The doctor looked concerned and passed me off to the assistant at the sonogram room.

The assistant read from the order form. "Check for DVT's."

"You mean blood clots? What do you do when you find a blood clot?"

"Put you in the hospital and give you blood thinners."

Oh no! The hospital! My floors are finally being fixed! I have to get somebody to sit for my cats! There are layoffs all over the place right now!

"You mean, you'd just hustle me right off the table and into Sinai?"

"If it's bad enough, yeah."

"I cannot go into the hospital. This cannot happen. I will not go."

The technician opened the door and let me in.

"This cannot happen," I told him.

Wowowowow said the sonogram machine.

Fortunately, it wasn't anything life-threatening. Just a traffic jam of blocked superficial veins exactly where I'd thought they would be. The doctor said it would take a month to get approval from my insurance.

I watched a video on the site. Ew! They'd better knock me out good and dopey.

I had tried to schedule the appointments one right after the other but the closest I could get was three hours apart. In between, I went to the Mount Sinai cafeteria for lunch and then killed some time visiting my old haunts. Mount Sinai is the size of a small city with all of the buildings connected so that you can circumnavigate the entire place without once having to deal with the elements. So I was able to have a meal, go to the overpriced gift store, have coffee at the Starbucks, and catch a Nurses Appreciation Week party complete with cotton candy and a belly dancer.

I also stopped into the chapel to thank God for bringing me this far in one piece except for needless vestigial organs, and I hope they don't find anything more frightening in my blood test than trail mix.

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