A Lump

I learned a new word on Friday. As some may have noticed, I have been having fun learning new words lately (look here and here, for instance). My doctor recently taught me an entirely new word I had never heard before and briefly explained it before setting up another appointment, this coming Wednesday, with a surgeon. (Janet did some more research once I phoned her with my report of what happened at the doctorʼs and passed an informative link onto me.) So, as you are probably wondering, was it somehow a bad word?

Thursday night, as we were getting ready to take showers and head for bed, I realized I had never shown Janet a huge scrape that (I think) I acquired backing into the big forsythia while mowing. So I stripped off my shirt (thanks to the wonderfully cool weather during that mid/later part of the week, not a sleeveless), to reveal the moderately large red welt. She never even saw it.

Suddenly, she gasped. “You have a big lump on your back!” And being Janet, she swung me around to give herself a better look, palpitating at the bump and making me realize I did kind of feel something on the lower end of my left scapula.

I twisted out of her grip to wrack myself around and get a glimpse of my own back in the big bathroom mirror upstairs (where she was shedding her contact lenses and doing whatever all it is she does before hopping into the shower). And indeed, I could see this long, narrow lump, maybe a couple of inches in length and over an inch wide. Of course right then, it looked huge to me.

Naturally, although neither one of us said it, our first thoughts were grim. And we havenʼt even watched an episode of The Big C. From her manipulations, I could tell that the bump wasnʼt real hard, actually kind of soft, maybe even temporarily malleable. Was that a good sign or a negative one? And now that she had palpitated the lump, it kind of ached squishily down there on the bottom of my shoulder blade. I felt/imagined the ache right through my shower and lying down in bed, where we decided (or I got told) that I should visit the doctor first thing on Friday (actually, Janet imagined me calling to see about an appointment, but I, knowing our doctors take walk-ins, knew I would head down right at 8:00 a.m. to see if our personal doctor was in).

A few years ago, maybe almost ten or more now, we elected to change medical offices here in town, partly because we werenʼt thrilled with the billing system at our former physicians (they somehow could never code the service correctly to get insurance to pay for the costs — of course, the schoolʼs insurance company pretty much had a policy of turning down any claim at least once to see if they could avoid paying their just cost by tricking us poor patients into forking out the dough ourselves). Partly because we had gotten a little concerned that we werenʼt being considered as seriously as we would have liked, even though it was that doctor that got me onto Lipitor for my skyrocketing cholesterol. And partly because we decided to become patients of a friend of ours, whom we had originally met when I had cast him in the Peace Pipe Players production of My Fair Lady and then, when a major actor backed out almost immediately, advanced him into a sizable role (not Professor Higgins) and with whom we have become great friends over the years.

So we switched, and the change has been very good, although I wasnʼt sure how he would feel about (or was going to tell me about) whatever dire condition the lump indicated.

I arose with the alarms on Friday morning to take my run, considering that it might be my last cool one for a few days and maybe, depending on what this lump was, my last one at all. All the possible difficulties, horrors and complications of this medical abnormality ran though my head as I pounded my heavy way around town. I didnʼt even notice the heaviness or ache I had imagined from Thursday evening (although I did feel it after my shower). Over breakfast, Janet figured out that I was going in person that morning and agreed that was the best plan, asking me to call her as soon as the appointment (well, not really an appointment, as I would be a walk-in unwell patient — so “session with the doctor”) ended, with whatever kind of news I had received. We got her off to work, and I got on the computer to check e-mail and Facebook for twenty to thirty minutes and then changed into not-at-home clothes to walk down the hill to the doctorʼs.

I got set up at the desk and sat down in the waiting area, pulling out my big red notebook from the big back pocket of the vest and starting to write some more about Søren and Judah. Five sentences later, a nurse called my name. We went into the back by the examination rooms, where she took my weight and conducted me into the chamber for blood pressure (which was excellent — 117/74 — and notice that I did not tell you the weight) and the announcement of what had brought me in today… a strange lump on my back. She nodded and smiled and told me that the doctor would be in directly. Once she left me with the door closed, I got out the notebook again, but I had no words to set down before our friend and doctor arrived.

Being who he is, he started off mock-chastising me for not inviting him to an imaginary party on our new driveway to inscribe names in the wet concrete (which would have been an abomination to The Lovely One). He really felt left out, he laughed. And told me more than once to be sure to let Janet know he was angry not to have been invited. (A good laugh was had by all.)

And then he added, “So you have a lump on your back, huh? I guess I had better take a look.”

We have reached a thousand words, so I guess (evil laugh inserted here), youʼll all have to wait for tomorrow to find out the diagnosis and learn my new word.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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