Sunday, November 26, 2006

Life On the Edge

So here's how a typical day might start. I wake up and take the usual bodily inventory.

Nausea? Nope. Fever? Nope. Night sweats? Nope. Cold head? Nope. Pain? Ummm, YES!! PAIN! Ohmygod!! Chest pain!!!

Ok. Ok. Calm down. Just a little chest pain. Probably nothing. Let's make a nice logical list of conditions that could possibly be causing this chest pain, and see if any of them require immediate action. Like maybe self-administered CPR, or perhaps a field trip to the emergency room for some morphine.

The list du jour:

  1. Myocardial infarction. Naturally, this is everyone's immediate first guess. Chemotherapy causes vomiting; vomiting causes electrolyte imbalance; electrolyte imbalance causes heart attack. But there are other possibilities. [decide to lie down for remainder of list anyway]

  2. Adriamycin cardiac toxicity: chemotherapy is savagely destroying heart muscle, necessitating immediate heart transplant. [Note: have kids checked for possible donor compatibility]

  3. Ulcerated esophagus, caused by combination of chemotherapy, rampant fungal infections, and vomiting. Esophagus has ruptured, causing massive thoracic hemorrhage.

  4. Caval perforation: port catheter has broken and punctured walls of superior vena cava, causing massive thoracic hemorrhage.

  5. Mediastinal tumor eruption, possibly caused by violent retching. Millions of ravenous cancer stem cells are swarming unchecked throughout thoracic cavity, greedily claiming prime real estate.

  6. Primary mediastinal tumor has metastasized to sternum, causing huge hideous incurable bone lesions.

  7. Secondary refractory tumors have formed in thoracic cavity. Probably a result of bad karma or persistently negative attitude.


As you can see, there is just never a single dull moment over here at the House O' Horrible Tumors.

Anyway, this little list is a good start; the next question is of course what to do. If I go to the emergency room, they will wisely and methodically rule out each of the above possibilities. And yet: the emergency room! Gaaaah!!! A forty-five minute drive, nine hours of waiting, packed like sardines in a dark filthy airless room with 800 cases of bird flu spewing projectile mucous droplets directly into my neutrophil-free, seriously immunocompromised lungs while watching the Saints fuck up, followed by three days of torturous tests and procedures? Please. Give me death.

On the other hand: Woo hoo, an outing! A social life! I am so terminally sick of my Boy In A Bubble routine, I'm almost gung ho for the adventure.

But not quite.

So I lie there on the bed for a while, pondering my options. Stay? Go? Live? Die? Panic? Denial? And then suddenly I burp. And poof, like magic, the chest pain disappears.

Sheepishly, I fish my hat out of the quilts and plod into the kitchen for yet another fortifying bowl of oatmeal to get me through another danger filled day of Life On The Edge. What next? It's always something. Please, do stay tuned.

5 Comments:

Anonymous kathy a said...

oh. my. god. liz, i am so sorry for what you are going through. but you are one of the sharpest, funniest writers anywhere. i am so hoping that you make yourself laugh. lordy, you are good. and alive today, which is always wonderful.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Kimberli said...

I read this last night.
Given the current daiquiri situation here in my house, I'd vote for trips to the ER for morphine, just for grins.
but then I'm easily addicted so.......

9:38 PM  
Blogger Lymphopo said...

Wait, what's this daiquiris at the house business? You're in LA now, you're supposed to partake of the drive-thru daiquiri.

They've given me morphine, and it was ok but not nearly as much fun as that twilight stuff. Hooo wee.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Sara said...

God, this made me laugh.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Brian Phelps said...

Hey Dr. Leda, we sure do miss your deft touch of language and humor on over at the Regan Rose Ranch! Glad to see you are handling life's little crises with your usual aplomb, gritted teeth, and wide if a bit too toothy grin. We do look forward to your full and complete recovery and continued enjoyment of your lovely wit and charming self.

(With your permission, we'd like to let Dr. Leda's fans know of your status. Many, many care for you and are concerned for you, but have no information about you. It feels disrespectful of your six years of wonderful witticisms and incisive self-recognition to pretend you've just de-materialized into another space-time continuum.)

6:52 AM  

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