Friday, January 13, 2006
About a week ago, a friend of mine had to undergo a "procedure." I don't know why I put procedure in quotes, actually. Maybe it's because, for the procedure she had to have, quotes somehow seem appropriate. Or, maybe it's because I don't really know fully, technically, medically, precisely, in full detail, exactly what she had to have done, so I put the word in quotes to give the procedure the appropriate aura of mystery and intrigue that it holds for me.

Anyhow, she had the procedure and she wrote to tell me that it went well, and that it even wasn't all that bad. Then she added that she did have a bit of a spell just afterwards, which codeine took care of.

Well, this reminded me of the most awful experience I ever had in a doctor's office. I'm about to share that experience with you, my dear readers - just for fun. And because I care about you, and your possibly delicate sensibilities, I will employ TMI ALERTS throughout the story. TMI means too much information, and when you encounter a TMI ALERT, it means that, potentially, the information that follows may exceed the amount of information you care to receive. I encourage you to be aware of these alerts, and respond as necessary.

Those of you who know me may be surprised to learn that my worst experience in a doctor's office was not the time when I had a brain tumor causing a 3rd nerve palsy in my left eye, rendering me cross-eyed, with which I drove myself (one eye closed) to the emergency room only to be accused of being on drugs and sent home. Nor was it the time, a few days later, when I went into surgery to have the tumor removed which involved peeling my face back from my skull and breaking my nose out through my open mouth (oops, that should have been the first TMI alert! ...TMI ALERT).

Anyways... No, my worst experience ever at a doctor's office actually came two weeks after I had the tumor removed.


After the surgery, I had a splint holding my nose together, clear up inside my sinuses. After two weeks, I had to go to an ENT to have the splint snipped and pulled out. So I go to this doctor and he sticks his little snippers up inside my nostrils and snips the wires on either side of the splint, effectively cutting it loose. Then he takes forceps and pushes them up into my nostrils and starts pulling these HUMONGOUS cotton tube/swab things out of my sinus cavity (which had been in place, I guess, to soak up blood and mucous). I had NO IDEA they were even in there. They were as long, and about 1/2 as wide, as one of those small Bic lighters (I guess they were kind of like little tampons) - and he pulls at least six of them out of my nose - 3 from each side.

OK, so I'm surprised and just a little startled that I could even accomodate all that in my nose - and he still hadn't removed the splint. He pulls out the right-side splint first, and it totally stretches my nostril to get it out... then he does the same with the left side. Now I'm staring at a tray upon which is a shockingly large pile of crap the doctor has just pulled out of my nose, and I think, "Whew - it's over!" - but no he hasn't even gotten started.

(Seriously - TMI alert)

He reaches for the wall and grabs a hose, flipping a switch that generates a sound similar to a vacuum cleaner... which I quickly realize is exactly what he just turned on. Up my nostrils goes the vacuum hose, and he proceeds to suck out the very thick bloody mucous that has been building and coagulating over the past two weeks and is clinging like hot glue to the insides of my sinus cavity - which I am now intimately aware is more akin to the Carlsbad Caverns than, say, my previous conception of the human nose.

It is no exagerration to say that it felt to me like my brains were being sucked out of my skull through my nostrils. "What is this madman doing to me?" is all I could think.

When he finished, my skin had, apparently quite noticeably, turned a shade somewhere between "volcanic ash" and "wind-driven snow" as both my mom and the Dr. asked if I was OK.

Isn't it funny how you don't necessarily recognize when you're almost unconscious? I said I thought I was OK - even though I couldn't actually see. And it didn't occur to me that I should take it as an indication to lie down with my knees up for a bit. Instead, I was simply puzzled by the odd outline of what looked like a chair sitting
2 feet in front of me, and the fact that my mom had dissolved into a mere swash of blue and pink. "Is that a chair?" I finally asked, pointing to the chair 2 feet away, which looked as much like the wall as it did a chair.

"You need to lie down!" they told me... so I did. And thus ended the worst experience I ever had in a doctor's office.

Do you have any fun doctor stories to share?
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If only I could find a fun doctor, I'd share.
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