A psychologist’s take on the Kermit-Miss Piggy split

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The couple in happier times

Thanks for not pointing out the grammatical mistake in a recent post title. It should have read “glasses-half-empty” rather than “glass-half-empties”. Don’t ask me to explain why; I don’t really understand it myself. I’ve changed it now. Some grammarian I am.

On an unrelated note, I was devastated in August when I first heard that Miss Piggy and Kermit were splitting again. You may not recall–perhaps you were not born yet–that they separated in 1990 but somehow got back together. This time the split sounds more serious, and, sadly, I don’t think they sought marital therapy before they threw in the towel.

I’ve always loved Miss Piggy and Kermit, and I followed their relationship closely in those early years. Talk about opposites attracting. Sometimes Muppets are drawn to the attributes they see lacking in themselves.

Miss Piggy clearly wore the pants in this relationship, and I never understood what Kermit gained from the union. Was Miss Piggy the trophy wife? Maybe Kermit stayed as long as he did because he took his marriage vows seriously. He endured Miss Piggy’s moodiness and neglect for many years. Just proof that it’s not easy being green.

Miss Piggy is quite the narcissist, diagnostically speaking. Although Muppets may seem ageless, Miss Piggy is now well over 40 and must be relying on  Botox and plastic surgery to look so young. She’s also got quite the wardrobe–I don’t know how she affords it on her paltry Muppet salary–and her hair and makeup are always impeccably done. Sometimes she doesn’t seem real to me.

Kermit was a devoted spouse, allowing his porcine wife to dominate their union for years. To me, he has always seemed somewhat depressed. Maybe being around Ms. Piggy’s energy and enthusiasm kept him from sinking even lower, even if she did not direct much of her exuberance toward him.

I understand this couple is continuing to work together despite the split. Big mistake, I say. Their residual resentment is bound to leak into the workplace. After any relationship ends, a period of no contact is required in order to re-establish appropriate boundaries. Without that, the couple is at risk for resuming their unhealthy connection, or simply falling back into bed again. Consider that age-old question: “Can we just be friends?” This psychologist says no, you can’t.

I realize when children are involved some contact is necessary, but thankfully the frog and pig did not have any progeny. Remaining childless was a wise decision on their part. Ms. Piggy would have failed miserably on any assessment of parenting capacity, and Kermit, as a depressive sort, may have had his own, if different, parenting challenges.

Despite all their individual and relational issues, I’m sad to see them split. I’d like to see one Hollywood couple, or at least one that I like, thriving in a long-term relationship. Given the troubled nature of their marriage, though, maybe it’s for the best. Kermit is dating already, I was pleased to hear, while Miss Piggy is playing the field. I’d expect no less of her.

My canoodling kidney

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Some of us love the winter.

 

To review our lesson from last post, I will view today’s overly frigid weather as “Winter Solstice is quickly approaching,” rather than “It’s only November and I dread five more months of frozen extremities.” There, I feel better already.

I have been given an unexpectedly long winter break from my patienting job, starting tomorrow. When I was at the Cancer Centre last week, Stephanie sent me off until the New Year, but first she arranged for an abdominal ultrasound. It’s been six months since my last, and almost 5 since I started on my miracle spleen-shrinking hip-enlarging chemo. In the interest of reframing, I hoped an ultrasound might enlighten me on the positives of my new chemo, in addition to my newfound healthy appetite.

Experienced patient that I am, I was a model subject for Angie the ultrasonographer. I breathed in and held it repeatedly as instructed. Angie explained that breathing in moves the organs lower so she can see them more easily. After all these years, I had no idea how full lungs assisted this procedure. Another day, another piece of medical trivia.

Sadly, Angie could not tell me that my recent weight gain was due to fluid retention in my burgeoning buttocks, but only because she did not assess said buttocks. She was scrutinizing my belly, remember? She stated that my spleen has indeed shrunk, from its high of 24 cm to its current 19 cm. Sadly, she provided no explanation for my unchanged waistline.

There was another reason Angie was taking a peek inside: I hoped she could explain the nagging discomfort I’ve been feeling around my spleen. Maybe a shrinking spleen hurts, or maybe there’s something else going on in there.

I don’t know what the final report will say, but Angie acknowledged that my spleen and my left kidney are getting a little too intimate. They are so close, in fact, that Angie had trouble seeing my kidney altogether. Since Angie offered no additional insights, I’ll share my naive layperson’s interpretation.

In the past, I’ve been preoccupied with how my liver and my spleen were getting along. When one was unhappy, the other often followed suit, as in any lover’s spat. I’ve needed them to be copacetic for my body to be happy.

But it turns out my slimmer spleen, seeking a little illicit excitement, has been sowing her wild oats with my left kidney. I figure the twinges of pain I’m feeling occasionally crop up when the two of them are getting it on. They smooch, I cringe, they hug, I wince, you know how this ends.

Now I’m worried that liver may get jealous if she ever finds out spleen’s been two-timing her. I’m sure to hear about it from liver. When liver ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

Come to think of it, an angry liver may not be such a bad thing after all. When my liver’s out of sorts, that healthy appetite of mine vanishes. So for now, maybe I’ll encourage the two-timing. Anything to get back into my size M yoga pants.

Reframing for the glasses-half-empty

You may or may not be interested in last week’s empathy talk. Here is my quick synopsis of how things went: I have no idea. Nonetheless, I’m glad I did it, and I’m glad it’s over. The audience seemed exhausted–it was late on a Friday afternoon–so I could not tell if people were listening, let alone taking anything in. Normally I would leave a situation like this assuming I had messed up but this time I decided to let it go, for the sake of self-preservation. Old dog, new tricks, who’d have thought it possible?

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to tell you about my checkup at the Cancer Centre Tuesday. Rather than Dr. Blood, my favourite nurse practitioner, Stephanie, assessed me. Stephanie’s presence is always reassuring because: a) Stephanie is so nice; and b) Stephanie’s assuming my care means Dr. Blood doesn’t feel she needs to.

After a full rundown on Stephanie’s recent vacation, we talked about me. My platelets are proliferating so my blood is getting stickier, thanks to my recently lowered CML chemo, but not so sticky that I need to worry about clotting. My red blood count continues to rise too. I asked Stephanie why I was not feeling more perky since my blood was so red. The gist of her response: “Your body is so compromised, there are infinite reasons for you to be tired.” Oh well. Then she informed me, hands on my belly, that my spleen has indeed shrunk of late. Will wonders never cease. Funny, though, my girth has not shrunk with it.

This led me to wonder whether Stephanie might be more sympathetic than Dr. Blood to my need for larger yoga pants. Stephanie is highly attuned to all that quality-of-life stuff because of her nursing background and her general supportive nature. She suggested, in her best psychology-speak, that rather than focussing on weight gain, I should instead be revelling in my healthy appetite.

She had a point. The times I’ve been sickest have been the times I’ve had no appetite for anything. This first experience of unhunger games, aside from the odd fever, I refused a chocolate chip cookie. I never turn down a good cookie. But on this day, I could not fathom putting anything into my mouth, let alone something sweet. The change in my appetite was so alarming that I went to the doctor, who sent me immediately to the ER. (She made that decision based on other factors in addition to my cookie aversion.) Who’d have thought refusing a cookie could be such a good indicator of wellness? Perhaps a cookie scale of wellness would well complement the Truck Scale of Holistic Well-Being.

But back to Stephanie, who had adopted one of the oldest psychology tricks in the book: cognitive restructuring, a.k.a., reframing. She took my usual negative interpretation of events and transformed it into something positive. I always knew she was smart, but she outdid me that day. I’d never have arrived at that reframe on my pessimistic own.

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Empathy: either you get it or you don’t

Quote by Rebecca O'Donnell: Empathy is walking a mile in someone else's moccasins. Sympathy is wing sorry their feet hurt.Isn’t this post title utterly brilliant? I can say that because I didn’t come up with it; my Sister in Liver Disorders did. I asked her to write my upcoming empathy talk for me, but she’d only provide the title. Thanks for nothing, Sis.

Yes, I’ve been furiously working on my empathy talk, 5-10 minutes about how I define empathy by sharing a health care story. Of course it’s taken me hours to prepare. The attendees will be broader ranging than I’d realized since it’s a joint university/health services conference. What to say, what to say?

I will probably talk about my first Dr. Blood because he is such a good example of a physician who lacked empathy, who did not listen and was not responsive, and who raised my anxiety and fear of dying through his behaviour. Thankfully, I’ve had few caregivers who treated me this way.

One of the things I’ve realized through this talk is that empathic gestures from virtual strangers have stayed with me. (I will be repeating myself to those of you who have committed all blog posts to memory.) Remember the pharmacist at the Cancer Centre I barely knew who stopped to check on me when she noticed I was upset? Salima the Radiator who gave me a hug and told me she loved me following my second zapping? The pharmacy assistant who told me not to be ashamed of needing Ativan for a bone-marrow aspiration? How about the lovely nurse I’d never met before who snuck me home-baked cookies after an unexpectedly long Cancer Centre day when the Cookie Ladies were MIA?

My prolonged ICU stay is one big empathic party, although I remember very little of it because I was so ill. (I trust J.’s recollections of this time because she has a memory like an elephant.) There were the nurses who bathed me in my bed, the physiotherapist who helped my weak body out of bed, and the respiratory therapist who worked with me to remove my ventilator. And there were the doctors who had not met me before and the doctors whose care I was under previously, consulting respectfully with one another to keep me well. Together they monitored me closely and kept me alive. And there was J.’s inclusion in rounds, keeping her abreast of my status and being open to her input.

But one incident at the end of my ICU stay stands out in my mind. I had been in hospital for the better part of two months, missing altogether the end of summer and early fall. The day I was deemed well enough to move to a regular hospital unit, my nurse bundled up me and all my various accoutrements to take me outside. I was too weak to walk, so I was moved into a wheelchair. In addition to my many IVs, I still had a catheter, so even my pee came along for the ride, in a little plastic bag of course. Readying me for the outing took the better part of an hour.

It was a gorgeous day highlighted by this nurse’s deeply compassionate gesture. If her actions don’t typify empathy, I don’t know what does.

How to ignore a patient without really trying

I was hoping I’d have nothing to report about my follow-up appointment with Dr. Eye Surgeon. I resisted all fodder for another blog post, I really did. But, in the end, I couldn’t help myself.

I was a bit agitated as I awaited my minute with the doctor, knowing I had only 2 hours before Mr. Furnace’s arrival to fix our faltering heat. J. suggested I tell the receptionist I had explosive diarrhea so she might hasten my departure. Creative problem solving that I did not heed.

Rather, I occupied myself by focussing excessively on the announcement posted on every wall asserting that as it was a specialist’s office, one- to three-hour waits were not uncommon. The last sentence was my favourite: “Thank you in advance for your patience.” What patience?! I’m the most impatient patient around, although only with physicians who greedily overschedule. I fantasized about ripping down the signs, but then I noticed that the many television screens tuned to Dr. E.S.’s channel displayed the same message every two minutes. Was I the only one in this horror movie? Maybe the other patients weren’t so annoyed because their cataracts prevented them from reading the signs.

After an hour, I got my turn with the doctor. He even sat down. Our conversation went something like this:

Dr. E.S.: [Upon entering the room] Hi.

Annie: Hi. (Inside voice: Since he doesn’t know my name, I’ll pretend I don’t know his.)

Dr. E.S.: [Upon crossing the room, sitting in front of his computer, and looking at the screen, on which his assistant has displayed my file]: Annie.

Annie: Yes.

Dr. E.S.: [Pausing to read the computer monitor since he has no idea why I’m there] I removed a lump on your eyelid.

Annie: Yes.

Dr. E.S.: [Looking back to the screen.] How is your leukemia?

Annie: Um, fine?

Dr. E.S.: [Looking back to the screen] Well, your lump was just a stye, but because it was so large, it concerned me so I needed to remove and biopsy it.

Annie: I am not surprised by your findings. (Who are you kidding? I heard you say, before my sedation hit, that the lump was so small, removal wasn’t necessary.)

Dr. E.S.: Some people with skin conditions like yours are prone to styes. (I hadn’t realized leukemia is a skin condition.) I wonder if your styes are related to your diet. I saw a fellow in his 50s yesterday who switched to a low-carb, high-fat diet, and he’s never felt better. He’s healthier and has started running marathons.

Annie: I imagine he does not have leukemia? (Yes, I really said this; I couldn’t help myself.)

At this point, Dr. E.S. had been in the room for a full four minutes, but I had not yet merited his full attention. I had no idea why he was advising me on my diet, especially since he’d asked me nothing about what I eat. We psychologists are expected to work within our domains of competence. Wouldn’t the same be true of doctors? Tired of listening to him, I said good bye, got up, and left.

I realize now I’d have saved myself considerable time and frustration had I noticed my file open on the computer monitor, read it myself, and left before the doctor arrived. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

She’s too sexy for her panties.

I thank everyone for their interest in my recently posted part-time patient position. Only applicants being considered for the position will be contacted.

It’s been a rough few days over here, and I’m not even referring to our furnace’s demise. Jelly suffered through surgery on her hind end last Friday. Her shaved back end looks somewhat baboon like, but J. won’t let me post a picture. The procedure went well but we somehow have to stop Jelly from removing the stitches herself for 10 long days.

Our first solution was the cone head. You know that plastic contraption that looks like a martini glass without the olive? Dogs can’t reach much of anything with their mouths while it’s on, although she seemed well able to eat out of her dog bowl at dinner time.

I can’t blame Jelly for hating her cone. She will sleep with the cone on during the day but at night, not so much. After the sedation wore off, she was in and out of bed all night for two nights. She cried for hours, and, once she fell asleep, she woke us every few hours to remind us of her misery. I have no idea how J. managed to make it in to work this week since I’ve been dragging myself on and off the couch.

After 90 minutes of non-stop whining one night, I began having bad parenting thoughts. First I wanted to strangle her, but then I thought of drugs. Yes, I considered a little Benadryl to tire her out enough so we could all get some sleep. I knew I’d feel terribly guilty if I stooped to that. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but that desperate? How would I ever have managed two-legged children?

Our sympathetic vet suggested one last intervention before we resort to sedation. She suggested doggie underpants to make the back end inaccessible. Yes, doggie underpants do exist, as do doggie Depends for those with incontinence problems, and doggie mini-pads for those who get their periods. So I bought a pair of girl-dog undies–we chose from the Tarzan collection–and tried them on her, but it turned out they were a bit sexy tight. I’d say Jelly is more of a brief than bikini kind of girl. We bought one size up.

I’m sure you’re eager to know how they’re working. Well, of course she’s afraid of them. She has been running and hiding whenever we bring them out. But she was willing to wander around with them, albeit using very small, timid steps. And, praise the Lord, she is sleeping at night again.

Of course, no solution is steadfast: already Jelly has learned how to get the darned things off. We can’t wait until Monday when she gets the stitches out. So as much as we continue to put them on her, even though they’re off by morning, we’re persisting so I can sleep.

There’s been one bonus: our previously walk-averse dog has started running to the door when we bring out the leash because she’s learned she gets to leave her panties at home. I guess it’s time we accept she’s a nudist.

Basset hound with leopard-print underpants on, with grimace on face

Here is Jelly getting into character.

Help Wanted: Patient (part-time position)

Basset hound howling with word balloon: "Help wanted."

I’m a bit busy of late. Recently, I have been contacted by a few former clients. You may wonder what a bad job I did the first time if old clients feel a need to return. In my defense, please remember that we all need a refresher occasionally.

I also have another upcoming speaking engagement: I’ll be talking to health professionals about empathy. An empathy conference for medical professionals is almost as ironic as the need for Patient and Family Centred Care week. I anticipate preaching to the health-care choir. Yet who am I to give up an opportunity to be the centre of an audience’s attention, even if only for a few short minutes? I can’t wait.

These responsibilities, in addition to my full-time patient job, my dog parenting, the rare bit of housework (I vacuumed today!), cooking and baking, yoga, and napping, are taxing me of late.

At the same time, I’m sure you’re aware of the drop in oil prices. Highly qualified professionals are losing their jobs left and right in Oil Country. I feel a moral responsibility to pitch in. It’s the least I can do during this time of flux.

Thus, I am reluctantly hiring an assistant to assume some of my patienting duties, including:

  1. Organizing and replenishing my medicine cabinet.
    1. Checking that all prescriptions are up to date;
    2. Calling in and picking up renewals as needed;
    3. Filling my granny pill case every two weeks;
    4. Refilling my granny pill case as medication dosages change unexpectedly.
  2. Monitoring symptoms.
    1. Tracking old symptoms and identifying new and notable ones;
    2. Determining whether a physician consult is needed, and with which specialist;
    3. Reassuring me when I’m being a hypochondriac.
  3. Booking appointments with physicians and labs as needed.
    1. Contacting medical offices by phone (allow time for long holds or call backs);
    2. Reminding me of booked appointments;
    3. Completing medical history forms (you’ll memorize the answers in no time);
    4. Entertaining me for hours in waiting rooms;
    5. Relaying concerns to physicians as appropriate.
  4. Clothes shopping.
    1. Taking monthly body measurements to determine clothing size;
    2. Shopping for clothing that will fit current body shape as needed;
    3. Cleaning out closet regularly and donating anything I can’t believe ever fit me.
  5. Grocery shopping.
    1. Reading food labels obsessively for sodium counts;
    2. Buying everything that has no added salt;
    3. Knowing which aisles to skip altogether, in addition to cat food.
  6. Cooking and baking.
    1. Ensuring the freezer is filled with low-sodium meals and baked goods at all times;
    2. Planning meals around fruits and vegetables that are rotting because I’ve been too tired to use them up;
    3. Making meals while I nap.
  7. And finally, worrying.
    1. Determining whether I am safe to drive today;
    2. Wondering if and when I will die;
    3. Thinking other morbid thoughts and dreaming about cancer;
    4. Fearing no one will come to my funeral;
    5. Other various and sundry concerns.

Qualifications include having the patience of a saint (you’ll be working closely with me), excellent organizational skills (which I lack), and the ability to manage emotional reactivity (yours, that is; I’ll manage my own, at least sometimes). I will retain primary responsibility for being sick because I wouldn’t wish my ailments on anyone. In addition, I will maintain responsibility for all ER visits and hospital inpatient stays because, well, it seems only fair.

A graduate degree in engineering or business administration would be beneficial. Unfortunately, due to funding cuts, this position is unpaid. Interested individuals–you’re still interested??–may apply with résumé to:

unpaidpositionthatnoonewouldeverwant@gmail.com.

Where I lead, will you follow?

I’ve told you already that a blogger judges her worth by how many people devour her words of wisdom. That’s why I monitor statistics like the number of bloggers to my site and the number of posts those bloggers have viewed. But I’m most preoccupied with the number of people who follow my blog, i.e., my followers.

I categorize my followers into three groups. First there are The Bullied, people I’ve told about my blog who have no real choice but to follow. Those people include friends and family. To them I’ve said: “Hey, read my blog. It’s funny/a work of art/deep and insightful/a book in the making.” No, I’ve never claimed the blog is bookworthy since I couldn’t write a whole book; I can only think in 500-word segments. (Coincidentally, I can only do therapy in 60-minute hours; overstay your welcome and my mind will wander.) I’d never impose on you by writing lengthy, wandering posts, only short, meandering ones.

Then there are the people who want my money, whom I call The Opportunists. They want to help me improve my writing or they want to sell me something that will certainly change my life, for example, their book, nutritional supplement, exercise program, or yoga retreat. They also may be looking for people to support a crowd funding initiative. The Opportunists are welcome to follow me–the more followers the better–but I haven’t given any of them money yet. I’m not a home-shopping-channel kind of girl.

Finally, there are The Randoms, the people who come across my blog for any number of reasons, some of which aren’t so wholesome, and decide they want to read more. Some Randoms have health issues of their own; for them, I hope the blog provides some comfort and understanding. A girl can hope.

But I’m at a bit of an impasse: In my 22 months of blogging, I’ve amassed 195 followers, which thrills me. 195 people whose inboxes I visit at regular intervals, and who may even read what I send them. But life is about continual striving, so I’m aiming for 200. Would it be too much to ask you to tell a friend or your mother-in-law or your hair dresser about my blog to put me over this threshold?

Forget it. Maybe the answer lies in my own home. In truth, Jelly is my most loyal follower. She traipses around behind me all day, joining me wherever I happen to be. If I’m peeing, she’s licking my toes happily. If I’m showering, she’s in the washroom, chewing on the bone she grabbed to occupy her, grabbing my socks off the counter, or poking her head in the shower. If I’m getting dressed, she’s causing havoc in the bedroom, trying to grab my attention. And if I’m cooking, she’s my loyal sous chef, hoping something will fall on the floor, or jumping on the counter when my back is turned.

Now, if I could just teach Jelly to read, she could help me reach my blogging goal too. On second thought, she may not appreciate all the embarrassing references to her illicit toys. “Oh mommy, how could you tell them that?” There are infinite ways for parents to embarrass their children, aren’t there?

Basset on back on grass with paw raised as if waving hello

Hi Mom. I’m here. Wanna play?

Updates from the health desk

I’m sure you’re eager to hear what happened yesterday. I’m eager to tell you, but first let’s get some housekeeping out of the way. Today’s Truck Scale of Holistic Well-Being: Jeep sideswiped me this morning, but larger truck may run me over later today. Meanwhile, my spleen may be shrinking while my belly is not, leading some to question: Have I been misattributing my pregnancy to my ginormous spleen all these years? Don’t answer that.

Yesterday’s procedure rendered mostly good news. Let’s start with the good, and you’ll barely notice the little hiccup at the end. By now it is expected that any test I undergo will yield abnormal results of some kind.

I was prepped on time for Dr. Liver’s internal inspection. [Sidebar: Let’s rename the new Dr. Liver “Dr. Foie Gras” because he strikes me, from his attire, as one who enjoys the finer things in life. That’s better.] First, my day nurse joked me through a painful IV insertion. A second nice nurse wheeled me flawlessly through the “Hall of Shame”–the “Shame” referring to my scanty hospital-gown coverage–where anxious people awaiting their look-see watch anxiouser patients ahead of them being wheeled in.

One woman looked terrified and was crying, which saddened me, since I know how scary this procedure can be. Had I not had my own fears to manage, I’d have offered unsolicited clinical support.

Before I was sedated, Dr. F.G. chatted with me about the medication that was affecting my balance and had likely contributed to my recent Summer of Falls. Upon checking my heart rate, Dr. F.G. informed me that I was at the perfect (lower) dose, and that I would not die sooner if I maintained this dose. Whew, what a relief!

The nice nurse then sent me off to La-La Land. (I knew that IV pain would be worth it.) From what I’m told, the doctor then peeked around inside, leaving nary a rubber band behind. Then I was wheeled back through the same hallway. I remember nothing, of course, since I was sedated, but I’m hoping my undies weren’t showing when I was transported back.

Later I learned that the results were so good that Dr. Foie Gras does not need me to repeat this procedure for a year. Wow! Sadly, this means that I have no more sedation days in my immediate future, and you know how I love sedation.

The doctor did, however, spot one picturesque hiatal hernia. Hernia shmernia, I say. You may have one too for all you know but you, like me, are asymptomatic. Hernias don’t reverse themselves, some are problematic and must be surgically repaired, but mine is of no concern to the doctor at this time. Heck, this is my third hernia so I’m an old pro. Just like an old car, I can keep running despite a few broken parts.

But this is how I really knew the news was good: when we got home, J. tried to book us a vacation. You don’t have to convince me, honey. Insurance inshmurance, I say.

Beagle puppy with front feet in empty suitcase

Hey guys, is there room in here for me?

I’d rather be loopy than lucid

Basset hound laying on dog bed half asleep.Parental Guidance: MTMMI (that’s “much too much medical information”) in this post.

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of assessing my new Dr. Liver’s hand-eye coordination. Or maybe not, since I’ll be sedated, as you’ve come to expect. Give me the drugs and I’ll see you later, thanks.

I’m not really worried about Dr. Liver’s clinical skills, to be honest. When we first met during a recent hospital admission, on a Sunday no less, Dr. Liver was wearing a perfectly pressed suit with matching tie. Maybe he was coming from church, but more likely he was impeccably dressed because he was on call. Since that day, I’ve imagined his fine-motor skills to be right up there with his fashion sense. You’d draw the same conclusion from someone’s attire, wouldn’t you?

Tomorrow, faster than a speeding bullet–it will be over in a flash–Dr. Liver will be putting a skinny tube with a camera down my throat. This camera allows him to take a close look at my esophagus and stomach. That darn blood clot outside my liver puts pressure on veins there, and Dr. Liver will be ensuring that none are at risk of rupturing.

I have had this procedure done at regular intervals since my clot was first diagnosed many years ago. The goal is to pre-empt a more serious problem. As long as Dr. Liver’s hand is steady, I’ll be fine.

I could choose to be lucid throughout, to watch the little camera descend and hear a play-by-play, but why would I? Since I have the choice, I’d rather be in La-La Land. If Dr, Liver finds something untoward, I’ll find out soon enough. For now, I’d like to nap, thanks.

I can tell you it would not be a good thing if any of these veins ruptured. I’ve seen it happen on Gray’s Anatomy and the outcome wasn’t pretty. (I may have actually asked J. to change the channel.) I glean all my medical information from prime-time medical dramas, since we all know how accurate they are. Better TV than the internet.

If any of those veins are misbehaving, Dr. Liver will have to band me. This means he’ll put a little rubber band around the vein to kill it before the dangerous vein ruptures and kills me. Banding is not a complicated procedure, but I’d rather not watch it happening. I’ll know afterward when I wake up with a sore throat and find myself desperately seeking milkshakes and popsicles.

After the procedure, I’ll want to know all about what transpired. Dr. Liver will patiently explain his findings, knowing I will forget everything he tells me because I’m still under the influence. Thankfully J. will be fully lucid throughout my delerious absence, and she will review the results with me once the sedation has worn off.

As we leave to return home, I’ll stumble from wall to wall, stubbornly refusing J.’s arm for support. This impaired person always has a false sense of how impaired she is. For a few hours, I’ll be happy and carefree and I may even forget I have cancer. So sedate me, please. I wouldn’t have it any other way.