If I were a sensationalist, I would begin this post with the following attention-grabbing headline:
Liberace's Cousin Stabbed Me in the Neck Six Times
And it would be true. :)
On the other hand, I could calmly say it this way:
I went to the hospital today for the ultrasound and biopsy of my thyroid.
And that is also true. :)
I was scheduled to be at the hospital at 6:45 this morning, which is way earlier than I normally get out of bed. As a result, I didn't sleep very soundly. You know how it is: when you know you have to get up earlier than usual the next day, even if you have an alarm set, you still sleep lightly--waking often to check the clock and see what time it is, wondering if the alarm clock will really go off when it should, hoping that you haven't already overslept and missed your appointment. It's crazy.
When the time really did come for me to get up, I was so warm and snug in my nest of flannel sheets and cozy blankets that I just did not want to get out of bed; but since I couldn't figure out a way to avoid the inevitable, I finally got up and quickly got ready. It's been COLD here recently, and it even snowed during the night, but there wasn't very much on the ground and the main road was clear and besides, Jeff was driving, so there was nothing to worry about. After our next-door-neighbor arrived to stay with the kids, we headed out.
Looking back, I was glad to have such an early appointment. It was fairly peaceful to be driving to the hospital in the dark with not as many people out and about as normally are during daylight hours. Plus, I knew that back at home, the kids would all likely still be sleeping, thus making it as easy as pie for our babysitter to care for all five of them.
Our town built a new hospital within the past couple of years, and they did a good job of it. Where once was a farmer's field now stands a medical complex that is thriving. Of course, the buildings by themselves are worthless; it's really the people that make it special, and I was so impressed today by how each of the medical personnel I encountered were quick to explain to me what was going on and what I could expect. Because this procedure was brand new for me, I truly appreciated their thoughtfulness in taking the time to verbalize to me what must undoubtedly be second-nature for them.
We didn't have to wait very long before I was taken back and the preliminary stuff done: blood pressure, temperature, etc. Then an ultrasound technician came to get me and took me into the room to do a preliminary scan of my thyroid. Even though the nodule is on my left thyroid, she checked the right side as well but spent more time on the left. She worked quickly and (from what I could tell) efficiently and thoroughly. As a matter of fact, she worked almost as quickly as she talked. ;-) Let's just say that I know more about her now than I ever expected to know. :)
After she finished her scan, she took me back to another room where I waited with Jeff, then after a little while, it was time for The Real Deal. Jeff went off to the waiting room to drink coffee (and try to stay awake?), and I was taken back to the ultrasound room where I waited to meet the radiologist who would do the biopsy. And we began.
One needle prick to numb the area...I felt it, but it wasn't bad at all.
Another needle prick (to test whether it was really numb, I guess?)...didn't feel it.
Then the biopsy itself started. I was told that it was normal to have to do it two to four times to make sure that enough of the right fluid or cells or something was drawn out. After the doctor used the needle to get some, he took it over to a pathologist (Dr. Bannister) who looked at it under the microscope and determined whether another take was needed.
Four times that happened. Four times of feeling a funny sensation of pressure/scraping/pulling inside my throat...but no pain. Four times of trying (sometimes in vain) not to swallow because when I swallowed, my thyroid became a moving target for the doctor to hit. :) Four times of being so eager for the needle to be withdrawn...and feeling such relief when it was (so I could swallow freely).
As he did the biopsy, he was guided by the ultrasound; and when it was all over, Jeff asked me, "Did you get to watch the ultrasound? Did you get to see the needle in your throat?" Fortunately, I did not. :) The screen was to my right, behind my line of vision, which was just fine with me. Because my granddad and my dad and my uncle all chose medicine as their profession, I had once, in my youth, considered becoming a doctor. Now I realize how unrealistic that thought was. I suppose if I could have become the kind of doctor that gives out band-aids and kisses boo-boos, I might have been a good one. ;-)
Then it was over. The talkative ultrasound tech took me back to the room (partitioned-off area, actually) where I had started, and a nurse gave me an ice pack to put on my neck to keep down the swelling at the biopsy site. She also--thankfully--gave me some ginger ale and some crackers because, having been instructed not to eat or drink anything that morning, I was h-u-n-g-r-y. Jeff rejoined me there, and we had to wait a while (to make sure I didn't suddenly keel over?) before they let us go. We walked out into bright sunshine, beautiful blue skies...and snow flurries on the way home. (Where does the snow come from when all you can see is blue sky above your head?)
Oh, I left out one part of the story: the Liberace part. When the doctor who did the biopsy entered the room, he extended his hand in greeting and told me his name. I forgot it instantly. But later during the procedure, during the pauses when we were waiting to hear from Dr. Bannister if he had enough "stuff" or if another jab into my throat was necessary, the doctor brought up his last name again. It was Liberace. If he had pronounced it like the Liberace pronounced his, I would have remembered it. But instead, his family pronounces it something like "libber-ace" with the last syllable rhyming with "space." Dr. Liberace went on, however, to say that he is related to the famous Liberace; as a matter of fact, that Liberace is essentially his third cousin (or his first cousin, twice removed...or something like that). I felt like a dusting of fame fell over me when I heard that the doctor putting a needle into my throat was related to such a well-known pianist! :)
Do you see now why this headline is true?
Liberace's Cousin Stabbed Me in the Neck Six Times
To finish the story, let me just say two things. First, I was so tired when I got home that after I put Moriah in bed for her morning nap, I laid down for one, too. The boys watched VeggieTales and were happy as clams...and so was I. :) When I woke up from my nap, my neck was stiff and sore, caused not only by the biopsy itself but also just as much, I'm sure, by me having to hold it still in kind of an awkward extended position while they did the procedure. It didn't take too long for the stiffness to work itself out though; and although I have a bruised spot on my neck now, it's not a big deal.
Second, I'm breathing a sigh of relief tonight that this stop on the path to discovering what's going on with my thyroid is behind me; but as you can imagine, I'm eager to find out the results of the tests today. I'm going to have to put on an extra garment of patience, however, because I won't find out anything until next Thursday when I have another appointment with Dr. A. Until then, I'll take one day at a time, striving to enjoy each one to the fullest, and walking in patience and peace.
Seven days is not that long of a time to wait, is it? :)
~ By the way, if you'd like a more spiritual perspective on the morning's events, check out Jeff's blog and the post he wrote today about his reflections while he was waiting for me. :)