ONE SCARY WEEK by Brian Roper

Posted: June 1, 2007 in The Roper Files

Putting on your best face isn’t easy on a day-to-day basis. When life seems to be falling apart at the seams, it’s hard to be pleasant. It’s difficult to be nice. So much easier to tell everyone to fuck off; leave me alone. Take the phone off the hook; put the “back in a minute” sign on the door. Draw the blinds. Turn off everything. Sound anti-social?  I’m light years beyond anti-social, baby. It’s the story of my life. Been even worse lately.

I try to take care of myself.  I’m not exactly the work-out-at-the-gym type, but I take a lot of walks. I switch back and forth between red and white meats nightly. Don’t smoke. Been on-the-wagon for sixteen years (OK , two dinky glasses of wine last New Years; so what?)  Haven’t been to a doctor in 15 years. Wasn’t broke; didn’t need fixin’. I’ve always felt the same way about doctors I’ve felt about car mechanics. Fix one problem and screw up something else while they’re under the hood.

So imagine my horror to discover a ping-pong-ball-sized lump in my lower abdomen last week while taking a shower. Memorial Day weekend; YOU try getting a doctor on the phone. They’re all in Cancun. Needless to say I effectively managed to let this totally ruin my weekend. AMERICAN SPLENDOR was on HBO last week; talk about a movie I didn’t need to be watching. Had myself completely convinced I had cancer like Harvey Pekar. No ignoring this; going to have to break down and call a doctor this time. Don’t need this shit, but I’m going to have to put my fears aside and trust a doctor.

Ironic thing about all this is I have insurance at work, but usually on those rare occasions I do attempt to call a doctor the receptionist almost always tells me:  ” We’re not seeing new patients.” Screw you and your insurance; go die! Lucked out this time; found a doctor nearby within walking distance. A little luck for a change?  The receptionist asks me over the phone if I can be there in 45 minutes. Sure, no problem, I tell her.

Doctor explores my nether regions and informs me I have a mild hernia, not cancer. He attempts to reassure me and tells me to stop worrying. Says they have all kinds of amazing new techniques to deal with these things now, but I may need surgery. Tells me to come back Friday to give blood and urine samples for lab testing. Walked out of there with mixed feelings. OK it’s not cancer. Not nuts about the surgery aspect but…

Had to go in this morning and let a nurse draw blood from my arm and whiz in a cup. “We’ll call you later. Bye.”

What next? Stay tuned.



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