Comments on the blog are better than any medicine.
Status: 9.25/10. Had an LP today, and anytime you get stuck with a needle you just gotta deduct some points.
Events: Today was the beginning of numerous evaluation tests to make sure I’m in good shape for a transplant; started off the morning with blood drawing (simply to reassure the folks in radiology that my platelets were high enough that they could safely perform a lumbar puncture). Then off for a quick EKG, which is done in another corner of the hospital. The delightful technician in the heavily air-conditioned EKG suite asked me to remove my shirt, but immediately handed me a warmed gown. It was a first – comfortable, comforting, and confidence building. Not only did I feel good, I thought, “These folks know what they’re doing.” It takes so little to put a patient’s mind at ease (think of all the people who have no idea what’s in store when they’re sent for an EKG).
One of the many good things at Hopkins is that they show you your test results. The tech handed me my EKG, and although most people would have no idea what the squiggles meant, I could quickly tell I had not had a recent heart attack, an electrical conduction problem, or an enlarged heart (that’s myocardial infarction, left bundle branch block, or left ventricular hypertrophy, in doctor talk).
Next up were pulmonary function tests. As you go through a number of exercises, they measure your normal breathing volume, your total lung capacity, how much and how fast you can forcefully exhale, and a number of other sophisticated measurements that were beyond me. For those familiar with the tests, they come accompanied by a technician who’s yelling, “More, more, more! Keep going, keep going! Hold it, hold it!” I’d swear that each one of them in college was a coxswain on their rowing team. All of my major measures were above those predicted for my age, weight, and height, so I’m starting off with a good heart and lungs.
Lisa and I grabbed a quick lunch (she specifically wanted me to relate that mine was California roll and chocolate layer cake and ice cream). And then we traveled back to the outpatient clinic where I would rest after my upcoming LP, but for the sole purpose of getting a gurney to take down to radiology with us (if you don’t come with one, you don’t leave with one!). We grabbed a blanket as well.
The LP was as usual, a radiology fellow doing the procedure, but a wait for the supervising (billing) physician. I went over in a gentle way what made for a good LP (slow injection of the numbing lidocaine, let it sit awhile to take effect – otherwise what’s the point). Lisa later laughed, and using a deep announcer’s voice, intoned, “Bruce Dan, changing medicine, one doctor at a time.”
And as usual, despite my hinting that I’d like a calm, quiet ride on the gurney back the outpatient area, the two assistants pushing it were gabbing loudly the whole way back about how much they liked/didn’t like their jobs. They seemed totally unaware I was lying on the bed in between them. Don’t know if I’m gonna be able to fix this one – seems like they missed something in kindergarten.
Comments: Tomorrow is another long day, back for an early 4-hour class on bone marrow transplantation, x-rays, CT scans, and a meeting with social worker. Feels like the merry-go-round is starting to move pretty fast
My love to everyone,