Monday, October 31, 2016

Big, Floppy, Throbby Halloween

Sitting on the train on the way back from the Big Fruit. The leaves are beautiful. This time, I came down all alone. K needed to stay home and supervise Halloween, and we did not expect any major news today. I stayed last night at R and H's house again. I got up early, got breakfast at a diner. Got a haircut, walked downtown and found I had gotten there 45 minutes early. So I had breakfast, part 2. When I told her this, K suggested I was becoming a hobbit. I guess I should have had the barber shave my feet.

Today, I was only seeing the surgeon, Dr. Nariz. Pathology is still cooking, so no news as to whether the cauliflower is cancer. It was just to check my surgical site for healing and to answer some questions. I had some. I had been obsessing a bit over the last week and a half about my left internal carotid artery. It's a strange fetish, to be sure. However, you might feel that way too if you had heard what I did.

After the surgery, while I was too groggy to remember anything, Dr. Nariz told Kathleen and my parents that my left carotid artery may have been exposed, or, to put it in ominous doctorese, dehisced. When I think of 'dehisced,' I think of a surgical wound popping its stitches. (See for an example.)

The internal carotid artery is one of the most important blood vessels of all. It is one of the main arteries supplying the brain (an organ for which I hold deep affection). * Rupture the internal carotid artery, and that is the end of the game. So, I imagined a big, juicy, throbbing artery hanging out just inside my nose and waiting to be punctured by an unwary fingernail in search of a meal. It could get chapped when I ski or pop if I bore down too hard relieving myself. There has been no end to the creative nightmare fantasies I have had about this 

However, when Doctor Nariz looked for it today, he did not see it. He clarified that, during the operation, he and Dr. Skully had seen what appeared like it might have been a little bit of the internal carotid peeking out from a gap in the bone. They had checked it with a Doppler (ultrasound machine), and it had not looked like an artery, although they could not rule that out, and they were not worried. It looks fine now, anyway. There is definitely not some big, floppy, throbby, vulnerable thing hanging out on the side of my throat waiting to pop. It would have been an interesting way to go.

Anyhoo, the wound looks fine and dandy, or, at least as fine and dandy as one's internal face can look after a nuclear meltdown.

I hope that Wednesday's news will be more definitive. K and I will come back down and visit Dr. B. We hope that she will have the pathology report by then. We hope it will be good and definitive news. **

Be well,


* The carotid artery, like all of the blood supply to the brain, enters the circle of Willis. That's a name I cannot forget, because, "what you talkin' 'bout, Willis?!?"

** Full disclosure: although I would be completely floored if this turned out to be cancer, I suspect that a definitive rule-out of cancer is not possible given my wacky tissue. They will just have to keep getting MRIs every few months forever. Oh, well. Beats being dead.

Attitude Bird

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