Bob expresses thanks for fine health care

Bob expresses thanks for fine health care By Bob Karolevitz Cancer and glaucoma were always scary words to me � and now I've got a little of each.

I thought there would be some sort of emotional reaction when I heard them specifically directed at me, but there wasn't.

Well, maybe there was a sudden knee-jerk response when the ophthalmologist said I had glaucoma. Without really thinking, I immediately said to Phyllis (who had accompanied me into the examining room): "We've got to buy a spinet piano!"

I guess what went through my mind was that pianists like George Shearing and Stevie Wonder were blind.

She answered me by questioning: "Why a piano? You can't even play one."

The doctor then eased my concern. "You're not going to go blind," he informed me. "You'll just have to put drops in your eyes every day, and you'll be just fine."

There went my piano lessons!

The cancer was something else again. Phyllis made me go to the clinic to check out what I insisted was just a green apple stomach ache, without the apples. The examining physician quickly sent me for X-rays and then to the gastroenterologist. That's when I had to swallow a gallon of sludge water so he could "do his thing."

The diagnosis was colon cancer; and, as I recall, I didn't even flinch. Surgery was hurriedly scheduled, but first I had to look at the � Ugh! � Ugh! pictures which definitely weren't framable. After that the doctor who was going to do the cutting and stitching drew me a sketch of what he was going to do.

The Benedictine Sisters announced that they would pray for me, and I added that they should pray for the surgeon, too, because he would be doing the work.

Needless to say, their orisons were effective, and the defective piece of my innards came out just like the doctor said it would. Of course I had a bit of recovery time, and I got to wear one of those hospital gowns which don't do much for the rear view.

I was given a choice of precautionary chemotherapy or not. I opted to go ahead with the 18 treatments because � as my dear departed Latin teacher once said � "It would be a new experience!"

Why the oncologist chose the 18 instead of 17 or 21, I'll never know. Maybe it was a magic number.

Anyway, the chemo sessions went well; and, luckily, I didn't lose my crew cut. Now all I've got to do is have regular checkups, but I don't have to drink the sludge before the delving. They've got something new which is easier to take, and it does the purging job well.

When the word got out that I had had a date with the Big C, I was greatly surprised by the number of calls, cards and letters from people who had experienced the same thing. All of a sudden I had a support group. I had more than my family who cared.

Actually, I wasn't going to write about the cancer and glaucoma because the subject matter is anything but humorous. On the other hand � after letting it simmer for a while � it seems like the thing to do: to thank belatedly those who prodded, prayed, probed, hemstitched and stuck all those needles in me.

I still think we should get the spinet piano, though. God willing, I should have time to learn, even if it's just to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

© 2001 Robert F. Karolevitz

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