And whimsically playing upon both concepts, I here diverge from my usual tiresome political rantings, and display a maggot of unknown nature and unknown outcome but of most definite origin:
In the wake of the chest CT last Friday, the sensation is that of containment, hidden containment.
I went to the American Radiological Association place, where the nurses were young to middle age and all so competent that competence stood in anyway for whatever age they may have been as they got my numbers and my letters from me with no dissent on my part. How could I, after all, dissent to process?
The process has momentum. I, at best, had drift, tending always towards an illusory state of rest. I’d been trumped.
Trumped, my drift slumped itself right down into a chair and I sat to brood on coughing too much, on coughing up small amounts of blood upon various occasions, and on the various relationships I’d been in, and which ones among them would have wound me up here.
And which would have wound me up back down at the bar or at one of four streetcorners looking for that which would have made me forget the cough for a while and wake up with it worse later, in the later that never matters.
But here, now, in the offices, it’s hidden containment. Gentle they move you from seat to seat, from the one where the needle goes in as she praises my veins and I explain that I had blood tests every month as a child to make sure the anti-asthma pills they had me on weren’t building up to kill me and she said, “Oh dear. Good veins.” “Yeah, they are,” not bad for shooting up coke with very little discomfort, I failed to add aloud.
The catheter snug in my arm, she received a jovial, well-nigh jubilant phone call which held her attentions away from me for a moment….and several….more …moments.
This has to be one of the key power standoffs. I need a procedure (just because you say I do—but that’s a whole nother story). You know that procedure. Therefore, at any moment during this procedure that i need, you have the power to introduce: Indefinite Hiatus of Varying Degrees of Insult.
This one pushed the bounds. A nagging pain from the catheter hanging out of my arm, a continued desire to be done and gone, and “my nurse” on the phone not 5 feet away plainly making plans for the evening, exchanging e-mails, and so on. Until she was ready to go again…
And what goes better with the injury of the needle and the insult of the phone than the injustice of then being told to eat a small dish of barium pudding?
I got it down. And if you know me, then that was the most astonishing sentence of this story. It might have been the most astonishing sentence even if you don’t know me. I couldn’t say.
The nurse had no idea why the iodine would make me feel warm and want to wet my pants, but she knew that it would; even when I inquired, her theories were ad hoc and none too plausible. I decided to enter the experience without her guiding words and experience the chemical injections swirling about in my blood, dancing around the comforting column of barium paste I’d built up in my esophagus, even as the partial, plastic womb of the machine taking me in with its one masculine-voiced speaker playing its magic upon me from all about, instructing me now to breath, now to not, and discs swirled mighty and unseen about my heart.
My crotch was warm. The iodine, one can only assume… Surely not the combination of iodine, and fleeting touch from young efficient women and instruction by a manly voice through a speaker on the CT machine from a man I never saw?
Surely not that, no.
“Do you feel the effects of the iodine?” She asked after I arose.
“No, no, I barely felt them at all.”
“Well, let me get that catheter out of you so you don’t take it home for a souvenir.”
“All right.” (Refraining from hypotheses about how much easier shooting up would be if she just left it.)
One more little “ow,” and, “You’re good to go.”