Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stifler's Mother

I love being back out among The People. Even if it's only at the doctor's office. First I went to phlebotomy where I finally had a lady who got my vein first time. At this point my veins have been so overused that they are actually more scar tissue than vein, so while finding one is easy, getting a needle through its exoskeleton is well-nigh impossible. So "Betty" gets my vein first time. On the last of 16 vials it starts to dry up and we've got to make it work. So she jimmies the needle or something, and not only does the blood mercifully spurt into the vial and fill it up, it also explodes all over the table, over her clothes, and all over her entire work area. She and the other phlebotomist standing nearby looked at me with great concern, and for whatever reason I just completely burst out laughing hysterically. It was a total bloodbath, and I could not have found it funnier. Especially since not a single drop landed on my clothes. You go ahead and figure out that blood spatter analysis, because I have no idea how it missed me but hit everything else in its path.

Next up, after seeing my doctor, was my periodic post-transplant pulmonary function test (to make sure the chemo and various drugs have not messed with my lung function). The tech doing the test (whom we'll call Stifler) turned what is a 15 minute process into 45 because he not only wanted to review my results with me after each leg of the test, but he also wanted to just shoot the breeze about anything and everything. Now, bear in mind that this test involves me having my mouth on a hose about the width of a mack truck tail pipe. Not a whole lot of conversation goin' on from my end. But Stiffler wants to know how my transplant went, did I find religion, what meds am I on, etc. He was perfectly personable in a totally dorky and awkward way, but I was thinking the whole time, "hello!?! If I answer your question, I'll have to interrupt the test!" And it was already 4:30 in the afternoon after a night when I'd had 2 hours of sleep, so I just really wanted to get home. But on he went to beat the band.

So what did I find out? Well, you will be interested to know that Stifler has a colostomy bag, is Jewish, grew up in a relatively happy home except for his mom who drank, and totally loves quality pizza. This from 45 minutes of me breathing in, holding my breath, breathing out, breathing in, holding my breath, blowing air out fast, blowing air out slow and steady. If only I could have extended the test to a full hour I might have gotten his ATM pin number. Damn!

I guess I should feel his pain. He spends 8-10 hours a day exhorting various people to "breathe out! hold it! keep going! just another few seconds! Aaaaaaaand....stop." He must really long for some actual conversation with actual humans (believe me, I know how he feels). And, by the nature of the beast (ie, aforementioned mack truck tail pipe), if the conversation is going to happen he's going to have to do the talking, which I completely respect. All I'm sayin' is that it's a pretty big leap from "So, what meds are you on?" to "yeah, I have a colostomy bag and it's a challenge." Especially because I was being careful to say stuff like, "Well, I have GVH, so I've got some 'gut involvement'," rather than saying, "I have periodic bouts of raging diarrhea" to a total stranger. I'm giving Stifler a break, however, simply because he kind of made my day with his wildly inappropriate Stiflerness. It's been waaay too long since I've had such a truly bizarre experience, and I'm deeming it my Official Welcome Back into the insanity of life among humans.

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