Saturday, November 11, 2017

My Colonoscopy | Lefsetz Letter

There was a female doctor and a male nurse. Oh, how far we’ve come.

It’s been eight years. I know the new standard is ten, but my internist says seven, and last year I was recovering from my shoulder surgery so I slipped a year but now it was necessary.

My internist went off insurance. He was part of the plan and bitched, now he’s the nicest guy on the planet, gives you all the time you need, is a great quarterback, and usually I go to see Wishingrad for my procedure, everybody in Santa Monica sees Wishingrad, but he was unavailable! Oh, I could get the colonoscopy in December, when I’m out of town, but I couldn’t see him beforehand and I was calling in September!

That’s what you learn, to call early. I’ve met my deductible for the year and I want to accomplish everything before January 1st.

My internist said I could wait until 2018, but I knew then it would be at least April, because I’d have to meet my $2000 deductible, and I didn’t want to let that much time slip by. Did I tell you I’m an i-dotter and t-crosser? I check every box, I do what the doctor tells me. Last Christmas I was riding the gondola with a snowboarder who had a sock for a glove. What happened? Well, he fell in the park and had to have surgery in September and I asked him if the doctor said it was okay to be out here and he said no, but he wasn’t gonna tell him. That’s not me, I want a good result. And the funny thing is my father did everything right and died at 70 and our friend Harry did everything wrong and lived to 90, so there’s no assurance, but the smoking and cholesterol will get you, and I want to keep them at bay.

So I e-mailed Irving.

I’m gonna tell you, there are two tiers of medicine, and you have to ask yourself which one you want to be on. And, of course, some people can’t afford the upper tier, and then there are those who can and don’t want to. Felice had a kidney stone and the doctor charged her 4k to blitz it. She was unhappy, I always want to pay, I don’t want anything to go wrong, I want to be up to snuff. I don’t care if I live in the best joint, drive the best car, but my body? That’s got to work seamlessly. After all, I only have one.

Irving said to see Ed. That I was gonna like him.

And Irving’s office paved the way by calling Ed to see if he could see me this year and when the answer came back in the affirmative, I made an appointment.

Now normally, the initial screening is perfunctory. Oftentimes the gastroenterologist doesn’t even sit down. They want to make sure you’re breathing, ain’t gonna die on the table. But Ed was not only friendly, he gave me an hour! I heard about his yoga, I got his background, he did research on my medications, I felt embraced, like this guy was on my team, like he was my primary doctor. And, he told me he hadn’t raised his rates since the eighties! He taught at Cedars and was now part of their network and he insisted on practicing medicine his way. Whew! He was strategizing regarding my issues, checking up on my iron and the pill I’m taking, even examined me physically! And then called me later with a recommendation. God, I’m afraid to call doctors, I believe I’m impinging, wasting their time, but not this guy! Hell, he even called me yesterday, before the procedure, and didn’t throw me off the phone!

So today I took an Uber to Beverly Hills. I know, I know, I should be taking Lyft. But when I’ve got to be somewhere on time I don’t want to take the secondary service, not when it’s important. And my driver Carlos was from Peru and loved this country, he works at a restaurant at night, why does everybody hate immigrants? Hell, if my relatives didn’t come here I probably wouldn’t even exist, they’d all have been killed in the Holocaust!

And they make you sign all these forms. Forms are ridiculous, like software licenses, you either say yes or are left out, and you want to be included.

And the nurse…

I chat up all the people, I want to know who everybody is. Turns out her sister is dating Lee Zeidman, small world.

But I had to go to the bathroom. You see you drink this stuff the day before…

But Ed said he used a European formula, that was much less offensive, and it was! And I ate some jello and sipped some broth but I was not hungry, I don’t know why, maybe because I stocked up on food just before midnight the night before.

So then they give you the hot blankets. Love those.

And take my blood pressure and insert the IV, which this nurse did well, unlike the last one, who missed three times.

And then the anesthesiologist came in. The woman. Asian. With a heavy accent. I’ll be honest, at first I thought she was the nurse. And I could have asked her where she was trained, but this is not a heavy procedure, whereas once I got a Russian guy for serious surgery and I had Reagan’s anesthesiologist when I had my shoulder done but the bottom line is I lived through the experience, I didn’t think I wouldn’t, but I did.

And the surgery nurse used to be a flight attendant, and then a salesman, and funny how time marches on, how genders are bent.

And then Ed came in and asked about the music business. I told him about Taylor’s album dropping, about that broker in Canada who got caught in the Paradise Papers web and then they wheeled me in.

And 45 minutes later, which seemed like an instant to me, I was out, drinking my juice box and eating my animal crackers, funny how we revert to children in the hospital, er, the surgery center, which just opened in December as a matter of fact.

And there were no polyps! And Ed thought he found where I’d been losing blood, but it had healed now, and he’s gonna call me next week, and the thing is when it comes to the poop chute, to the prostate, I’m good, which is great because so many other places I’m bad, we’ve all got something, we’re all fighting the grim reaper, you can check out early, which I don’t recommend, you’re gonna miss so much, or you can age and your body can start to fail and you can do everything to hang on.

I recommend you do everything to hang on. You don’t think you want to get old, but when you do you want to get older, although you don’t want to live forever, all your contemporaries are gone, no one remembers what you did, or as Warren Miller says, every hundred years, all new people.

And my plan was to go directly to In-N-Out, as a reward, but I’m not supposed to eat greasy food at first, so I didn’t, but I think I’m gonna later, and now you’re gonna criticize me, but I’ve been eating so clean and…

It’s the little things that make live worth living.

As long as you’re still living.


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