In the Belly of the Beast

April 14, 2009 § 2 Comments

babylonian-liverUtterly fatigued today. I paid a bill or two, did the laundry. Looked again for my mammogram films, which I’m sure were lost at a doctor’s office, but the office denies it. It’s astonishing. My liver doctor’s office has no record of my CT scan in 2007, which is okay because after my own files were thrown all over the living room and I was frantic, I called back and asked, “Well, if I did have one in 2007—which I understand you’re saying I didn’t—where would the doctor have sent me?” This peculiar question was one the nice young lady managed to answer, and the radiology place does in fact have a record.

And my gynecologist insists I never had a cervical biopsy because it’s not in the chart (I had two, in his office, pain and blood and all, which I know because I have a brain which also keeps records, and for the record the doctor had no curiosity about the anomaly in our respective record-keeping devices); tit films go missing—

And they will yell at me at the mammogram place for the missing films and tell me they can’t interpret the results now, so they’ll just have to cut off my breasts and be done with it.

Fine. I’ll put them back on with krazy glue.

I’m thinking of my making my sister my personal physician. She’s a veterinarian, but that’s already way ahead of what most of the human race has in the way of health care. Whatever she doesn’t know, she can learn on youtube. The only problem is, my insurance wouldn’t pay. I’d have to catch her on a Sunday, when she’s bored, give her a couple of drinks and say, “Would you mind operating on my liver, while Bob’s grilling the fish? There’s a cyst that needs draining. No biggie.”

That’s how she did acupuncture on my neck once. Of course it hurt for six months, but that was because of the third drink. I’d only let her have two before the liver.

I hate being middle aged and needing preventative screening all the time! If we were in the future already, the one I’m taking my job as a writer seriously to invent, I would just stand on the special beam-me-up-Scotty place on the clinic floor and at the flick of a switch 

an all-over deep mapping would occur, with and without contrast, color balance, hue saturation, and all the cell-to-cell chatter and bacterial conspiracies captured

and it would feel like being licked by a cat on the bottom of your foot—if your foot was in your brain as was the case with a baby born recently, don’t let me digress too far, but the baby lived

or so it said on some other wordpress blog I read today—

forget the baby, just think about the cat, its sandpaper tongue on your sandpapery foot, and you’re reading a novel and the cat keeps licking for an inordinately long time, like a minute

and once the mapping was done, the results would never be lost, and computers in their spare time would peruse millions of them and cogitate on the connections and implications, and diseases would wink out like species going extinct

and doctors would have hours to sit and talk about life, dealing with the little things, the odd symptoms with no cause, parsing anxiety’s new costumes, and those who were not worth talking to would go out of business

and patients not worth talking to would be referred to robots who would seem entirely human

and if you wanted cosmetic surgery on the order of a long furry tail and the face of Cleopatra, you could have it, but it would only last a week and then you would have to spend some time as a tadpole

I can’t wait.


Here’s a charming bit about the liver from The Iliad, Book XX, Homer,  translated by Samuel Butler

There was also Tros the son of Alastor- he came up to Achilles and clasped his knees in the hope that he would spare him and not kill him but let him go, because they were both of the same age. Fool, he might have known that he should not prevail with him, for the man was in no mood for pity or forbearance but was in grim earnest. Therefore when Tros laid hold of his knees and sought a hearing for his prayers, Achilles drove his sword into his liver, and the liver came rolling out, while his bosom was all covered with the black blood that welled from the wound. Thus did death close his eyes as he lay lifeless.

I guess I remember now why I liked the Odyssey so much better.


§ 2 Responses to In the Belly of the Beast

  • litlove says:

    Oh I hear you about the screening. The doctor’s office losing your records is extremely annoying – any chance of swapping to a different practice, or would that simply mean even MORE loss of personal information?

  • Margaret Diehl says:

    It turned out that the mammogram place had my records all along; they just told me they didn’t, making me spend hours looking for them. The liver dr was my surgeon for a cyst I had drained; his office is chaotic but I trust him.

    Anyway, what I hear is it’s not any better anywhere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading In the Belly of the Beast at Mostly in the Afternoon.


%d bloggers like this: