A Bad Way to Start a Vacation

Everything was planned out. We were leaving Friday night, driving to Kansas to see my father-in-law. On the agenda: sleeping late, eating well, and having a few laughs. We’d come back Tuesday or Wednesday, just in time for me to get ready to go back to work on Thursday.

Then I went to the doctor.

I mentioned a few blog posts ago how I thought I might need to see a doctor about some issues I’ve been having. So, last week, I did just that. I had some bloodwork done and a part of me checked out that guys normally don’t want anyone but their wives or girlfriends (or boyfriends, for my gay readers) checking out. I was referred to a urologist, who then schedule me for the very unpleasant-sounding “scrotal ultrasound”. I did that one today, after another round of bloodwork (the last one was a bit botched) and before another trip to the urologist for interpretation of the ultrasound. When I got to the urologist, I received the news I mostly expected, but didn’t want to hear.

A tumor. Most likely testicular cancer. Surgery scheduled for tomorrow.

Now, one thing those who know me well realize is that I use humor as a tool to diffuse stressful situations. Therefore, when I was given this piece of information, the jokes began. Soon, the urologist’s staff was laughing. They sent me to the hospital for some pre-op tests–more bloodwork, EKG, chest X-ray, SAT, English Literature final, Olympic time trial, etc. The woman in registration laughed. The admissions nurse laughed. The lab people laughed (she didn’t believe me when I said my name was Abraham Lincoln). The X-ray tech had jokes of her own and we both laughed. The EKG people, deprived of a sense of humor, did not laugh, but I do believe I heard one of them giggle once.

Most of all, my wife Amy laughed. I knew the only way to keep her from crying tears of anxiety was to make her cry tears of laughter, so I bombarded her with jokes ranging from idle threats (“If my testicle shows up on eBay after this, I’m going to be pissed!) to asking the admissions nurse if, even though I can’t eat or drink after midnight, I could get completely drunk before then. Through it all, she laughed and shook her head and acted wholly embarrassed to be with me, even as she clung to my arm for support. Tomorrow, I’ll come out of surgery to go home and she’ll have to help me in and out of the car and into bed. Today, though, it was my job to support her.

I’m not overly worried or anxious about tomorrow’s outcome. Even if it is cancer, this type has one of the highest cure rates of any and I am confident in the doctor and staff who will be taking care of me. I should know in a week if radiation is needed, but until then, I’ll be able to catch up on some sleep and maybe, once my head clears, read and perhaps write a bit. I already had vacation scheduled for this week, after all, and at least I’ll be able to recover without too many worries about what I’m missing at work. Believe me, I won’t be missing it.

In the meantime, if you are reading this, please be sure to check out my flash fiction entry at The Clarity of Night. So far, the reaction to my little odd tale has been very positive. It would be nice to win, even if I’m too drugged over the next couple of days to know.

Until then, take care and let me know if you see anything of mine on eBay.

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