Old Before My Time

I don't like to complain, a student once said to me, and I took a chance and said, I think you do. In fact I was meeting with him because he had complained about the first night of his first course. I too could say that I don't like to complain. Is that true? I think I like to whine. The only reason I don't love it is that I know no one wants to listen.

Instead, I will state facts, just like Harper's. Number of doctors seen in the last seven days: six (two ER docs on Saturday, gyne on Monday, gyne and a resident on Tuesday, hematologist and podiatrist today). If you change the word to "healer," it's seven, because I went to physical therapy yesterday, where I declared cured of Achilles tendonitis.

I don't like to complain, but... I've had a headache since Saturday. That by itself wouldn't bring me to any doctor, but I mentioned it in the ER and with the blood doctor today. It's a tension or sinus headache and maybe it was caused by stressing out my neck and shoulders with the backpack. Nothing helps it, except maybe some massaging of my temples my neck. Are you a headache person? the hematologist asked me, and I said yes. I think headaches were a sign of growing up, a sign of allegiance to my father's side of the family. My father had headaches and neck aches and he and his brother both had those mysterious weights ("traction") they used to help with the pain. Headaches were a sign of seriousness, of studiousness, of bookishness, Jewishness, of learning and erudition. Isn't that pitiful? I am a serious person, therefore my head hurts. I am frail and intellectual, like a tubercular tailor from the ghetto who nonetheless makes time to study the holy books.

My friend Paula has had a headache for more than a dozen years. I hesitate to mention mine because it pales next to hers.

But really I do not want to complain complain because it is tedious. So I had a D & C and the worst thing about it was getting up early. The drugs knocked me out (or made me forget any pain). Before I was wheeled in to the OR, I told the doctor I'd had bad experiences with residents, was she going to do the inserting and scraping herself? She said she would do it all, but the resident would help her, and that she herself had studied with a Mexican gentleman, Rafael Valle, who pioneered hysteroscopy, and he was a male chauvinist but she managed because she was Italian, and because he mentored her, she felt obligated to show others how to do it, as long as she was alive.

In fact, he wrote the book on it: Manual of Clinical Hysteroscopy.

Soon to be a major motion picture.

(O, Italian, I thought, and felt partially satisfied. I'd wanted to place her, I wanted to know her country of origin. Through Google I found out she's Jewish. Why O why does this matter, O Cancer Bitch? Is she Sephardic? Cancer Bitch asked herself. Or was she Italian Catholic and did she convert? Jews are even more provincial than New Yorkers.)

Today her nurse called and said that the pathology report came back and I have no abnormal cells. That's good. I do have a big fat fibroid that the doctor showed me a picture of Tuesday, and she wants to take it out. I was too woozy to ask why. L says it's because it's in the way. In the way of what? It's not like I'm storing anything in my uterus. And I have other fibroids that I've treated with benign neglect. I remember that she said it hadn't shown up on the ultrasound. So it's a surprise fibroid. In the picture it looked just like an egg.