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Biopsy

I have no idea why I feel compelled to share this with the Internet. It just was different than what I expected (and probably cost a billion dollars – there goes my high-deductible for 2014).

According to the websites and the doctor who referred me, I would be given a local anesthetic to my back. I would feel “pressure” when the biopsy needle went into my back and nothing more.

That was all the preparation I had, despite researching in on the Interwebs. I would be fine to work on the following day.

Reality was slightly different. I argued for my favorite hospital and won: somehow, the powers-that-be ignore the little hospital right here in Oregon City in favor of the larger, more metropolitan ones. This, despite that our local hospital is part of the Providence network, well-staffed, and clean. I won, and that part makes me smile. I was (at least) in familiar territory.

I was wheeled to the CT room. I was told I would be given “happy drugs” (narcotics) and I probably would not remember the procedure at all. IV in, electrocardio set up, blood prtessure cuff on, emergency oxygen in the wings. I lay on my stomach, head twisted cruelly to the left. (MY choice: left or right: I chose left. They did make me as comfortable as possible.)

They wheeled me in and out of the CT Scanner with the admonition to “hold the same breath” every time. I did not bother to point out the grammatical incorrectness of such a statement, but concentrated on memorizing how I was going to inhale and hold my breath. I was introduced to everyone: Darcy, my day nurse; Holly, the attending RN who would record everything; Darla, the CT Scan tech; Dr. Vega, the professional who would extract cells from my kidneys.

They placed little grids on my back and explained that I needed to hold the same breath because the kidneys move when you breathe. Technically, I understood the request: they wanted the kidneys in the same position every single time so they wouldn’t miss the target. I only failed once.

Lidocaine was injected into my back (small fire). 25 milligrams of pheno-something (not barbitrol?) was injected into the IV. I was fully aware the entire time and even felt the large needle go into my back (a pain that registered as a .5, nothing to even flinch over, but certainly not a strong pressure on my back).

Someone from Oregon Health Sciences University showed up with a microscope. I overheard this in the background as staff rushed around. Apparently, this was unexpected and was a sudden act of Providence: they would instantly know if they collected enough cells for the biopsy and I would not have to repeat today’s visit in the event they didn’t collect enough of my kidney. I say “kidney” now because they only took samples from the right kidney.

Four, to be exact. “Hold your breath.” Click. “Breathe. Four times. Wait five minutes while the people with the microscopes ascertain that enough cell matter has been collected. The cell matter will be transported to OHSU for complete pathology.

I was told I was a model patient: calm, patient, exact in my breathing. I had to wait two hours before being allowed to leave (they want to be sure no signs of allergy, infection, or excessive bleeding appear).

The part I was not prepared for: complete bed rest for the rest of the day. 24 hours of bed rest, to be exact (although I am violating this right now). I am not supposed to drive for 24 hours, but I invoked what I was told before I even went in for the biopsy: I was told I could go to work in the morning on the day after.

I am a compliant sort. I try to obey the doctors: bed rest, all that. It’s to prevent infection and worse, and I get that. It’s part of my personality to obey when I believe it is right for my body and even if I don’t want to: there’s a time for rebellion and my health isn’t the time. But I will be driving long before the 24 hours is up, as long as I feel this fine in the morning (and I see no reason not to).

Thankfully, my Kindle was fully charged. I’ve checked my email, checked my Facebook, and started reading (or continued to read) three books: I’m struggling with “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (preachy, and I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept of ‘owning’ another human being – my sensitivities are offended despite my affection for the heroes & heroines of the book), “Quiet” by Susan Cain (it only makes me angry as only an introvert in an extrovert world can feel – an anger that has simmered since the 9th grade when I ‘changed’ my personality in order to ‘fit in’ and that has been fueled in recent days by my company’s decision to put us all in cubicles in the ‘pod’ system – don’t ask this introvert what she thinks of that failed business model!), and “Exit Unicorns” by Cindy Brandner (not at all what I expected, but a very engaging history of Ireland).

My Kindle finally died and I am here, blogging. I will soon retire. In a week, I hope to have the pathology report. I am hoping that I did not mishear a nurse state, “They have pathology”. She was referencing the people with the microscopes and her words gave me heart: they already found something, but what?

My silent prayer is: “Please, God. Something. I just want to know what name the Enemy hides behind. I want to be validated in the ‘Invisible Illness’ realm. I *know* I have something: don’t tell me ‘nothing can be found’ one more time.”

Amen.

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