It was an unusual first day at the clinic-or maybe it wasn’t? I’m a newbie. I’m young and look healthy, remember? Anyway, nothing really much happened. After mall-walking through an enormous lobby, replete with fleets of empty wheelchairs (not including my friend above), we checked in at a massive desk and then received notice that there was no confirmation on whether or not my biopsy slides or reports had arrived from NYC. Routine for hospitals (on the sending and receiving sides), but I was surprised there were no additional attempts made, especially given the “exceptional” service. I was, however, called in for my first consultation early. That was new.
My Mayo Doc (MMD), the young man of the no-biography, was pleasant enough. (So pleasant, in fact, that I forgot to tape our conversation for your listening pleasure. Because that's what it would be, readers, right?) Still, when MMD found out that the biopsy slides hadn’t yet arrived, he asked: Why didn’t you just have the procedures done here? After waiting nearly one month for these biopsy results, after knowing that such results do take weeks, I answered plainly, “Because I wanted the results to be here for the clinic to assess.” He smirked, I think. But I don't wanna assume.
In fact, I couldn’t tell if he was laughing at me or just being smiley in that way that health psychologists (like Lina) teach med students to be (so regularly lacking are they of human social skills, that such classes are necessary). But MMD seemed genuinely friendly. His rundown of my medical records and subsequent exam wasn’t exactly detailed (though maybe he’s the type who keeps a lot to himself). I also had to remind him that it might be beneficial for a certain type of surgeon to assess an MRI that I had given to his desk assistant. (I wasn’t told whether or not he had actually seen the film, but he agreed with my comment. Thankfully, I took the chance to make it.)
Then, I was told I’d have a number of days full with tests and that we (me, Lina, and MMD) would meet on Friday to learn “what [he] thinks.” Kind of odd and independent for what I believed to be a “group approach.” Especially given that I wouldn't have chosen this person based on random biographical information--or the research he's produced. Of course, it’s possible there’ll be discussions about my 10 lbs of medical data (yes, I carry these in hard-copy form; more on that later in the week). I wasn’t told about group assessments, though. Instead, I was given a sheath of papers, stapled together with an itinerary of some basic and unusual looksees – including a tissue aspiration I had never read about. (100 points for originality, Mayo.) So, that’s what will happen for the next couple of days.
Test. Test. Test. Maybe some lunch. Maybe some water. Maybe I won’t wear my coat to the hospital tomorrow because it’s so damn cold here, every building is overheated to the point that you always feel like you’re in L.A.—you know, short of The Hills cast eating brunch at the table next to you. Another thing: You (meaning I) come to a major medical center for a chance to get to the bottom of a mystery condition most likely linked to a cancer you once beat but must remain careful about, and there’s no mention of including an oncologist or immunologist on the team? I mean, maybe an onc will get a phonecall from MMD, but I wasn’t told about such plans. Oh, MMD, you sly devil, you.
Bottom line, though? I feel as if I’m spending a lot of money—to say nothing of Lina’s time (mine at this point is besides the point)—and may be in store for nothing more than more confusion. Or at the very most, a few blanket statements that I can’t even trust given how casual all of this has seemed, despite the official testing, for which the hospital will be able to bill my insurance company thousands and make me sweat. I’m sorry I’m not 90 and disabled yet, but young people who aren’t children still deserve to be taken seriously. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow. So far, the trip’s just been more of a chance for Lina and I to be silly among a very barren midwestern city full of (literal) sickos. Only to then return to the hotel to watch Heidi and Spencer fighting it out in my beautiful homeland. Oh, the hills. We miss you and your fabulous moving photography of Angel Ciudad.
P.S. I know some of this hospital-trip reality (and disparagement) could be in bad taste for those whose last hopes lie in M.N. But I'm already here, and I need to be here, too. You gotta allow me some shenanigans. Even if the strike was over, TV just wouldn't be enough for me right now.
P.P.S. Guess what city only has only one taxi company to service it? Rochester, M.M. And guess what? They don't have enough cars to handle all the people who need to get to the Mayo Clinic for early morning appointments. So as much as you hate driving on thick sheets of ice, rent a car (and boycott the taxi company at the number 507-282-2222. They're not just a small taxi company; they're run by morons unique to the low -IQ businesses peppered throughout the city). Then again maybe you'll be smart enough to stay adjacent to the Mall of Medicine, a strategy we chose because we're not Sultans. Yet. You heard it hear first.