May 13, 2002
Well, I think I'm closer to hysteria this morning than I've been in my life. All I want is to get this stupid little cervical polyp removed. According to the book and medical advice from the civilized world, this should be a matter of a decent doctor, a speculum, a ring clamp, and a simple twisting motion. How hard can that be, right?
In fact it sounds like I could do it myself, if I had eyes in the right part of my body.
The polyp should also be sent to Australia for routine pathology. There's a flight tomorrow. This is the day.
So my first step toward assembling the proper components was a phone call to my friend, Virginia, the nurse. She says she will do the twisting if I can find the instruments.
So I call Doctor Kori; he reiterates that he does not want to do it; it's beyond his area of experience. So I say that Virginia will come along and do the deed. He perks up immediately, but then I mention the words "ring clamp" and that's the end of that.
He suggests that I call the Fema Clinic and see if Doctor Quan is still working there. This Quan is a gynecologist.
So we look in the phone book but no sign of Fema Clinic in the "F" pages. Look in the yellow pages under "medical", "clinic", "doctor" and "physician". No dice. Can't think of any other arcane words describing medical facilities.
Call directory assistance. No answer.
Call Doctor Kori's office back. Ask them for the number. They don't know either.
Finally have the brainwave of looking for a home number. Phone Doctor Quan's home. No, Quan is not at the clinic. He's working at his store, LOS Trading.
I call LOS Trading. Doctor Quan apologizes, but he is not doing any clinical work this year. (Neither was he doing clinical work in 1994, when Michael was born. Apparently the Chinese store is more lucrative than a medical practice.)
Quan tells me that I will need to go to the hospital, land of no syringes and cardboard-box arm splints. He says they will give me a general anesthetic "because of the instruments they have".
(What does he mean, some kind of medieval torture instruments?)
He says that I need to call the hospital, see if the gynecology clinic is still operating, and see if Doctor Zutu is still working there, or if they can get Doctor Zutu to come in for this procedure.
(Presumably I should also check and see if they still have ring clamps and a speculum.)
I barely thank him. I hang up and start shrieking. I can't even tell Andy what he's said. I run to my room and cry hysterically for about 5 minutes. The kids are all convinced that I'm totally losing my mind. I am too.
Andy gets back on the phone with Doctor Quan and tries to find out why I need general anesthesia for this simple procedure. Turns out Doctor Quan thinks I should have a D & C as well as the polyp removal. But when Andy makes it clear that we don't want a D & C, we just want the polyp off, Quan says that Doctor Zutu should be able to do the twist.
Not trusting the hospital's phone system to actually be able to make contact with Doctor Zutu, Andy drives off to see what he can find out in person.
If we fall at this fence, the polyp will go to Brisbane, attached to my body. It seems bizarre that I would have to go to Australia for something so simple, but somehow it seems we've fallen through the looking glass into a strange world where the simplest things are incredibly complex.
Need to catch up on 31 Days of 2002? Start here