January 9th, 2013
Yesterday finally, Hill and Special Ed and I made our way back to the doc.
I spent most of the day in the shop working on the prototype fasst (tight ass) bike. I’m hustling to get the frame done in time to take it up to Vermont this weekend where Zach and Todd are waiting with parts to hang from it. My appointment was 3:20, and at 2:59 I was still holding a hot torch brazing on housing tie downs.
I didn’t bother to change clothes. I decided that if I showed up in my work boots covered in flux it would help send the message that I was far too busy for this shit! (cancer. treatment.)
Ed had a bit of a mechanical on the way there, and had to peel off to the local bike shop because none of us had a multi tool. I checked in at the desk at 3:20 on the nose, while Hill finished locking up the bikes.
“Beata, that’s a beautiful name. Where are you from?”
“Poland.. you say it exactly right..”
Beata walked us down the hall towards an exam room.
“Zaufaj mi, jestem doktorem!”
“Wow! How do you know Polish? You say that with no accent! Are you really a doctor?”
“No. And it’s the only thing I can say in polish. Except some swear words.”
My doctor has pretty blue eyes. Usually there’s a significant portion of white showing above the iris. He looks as though he’s had a LOT of coffee, but without seeming at all nervous. Wide eyed, but mysteriously calm. I’d like to know what he’s taking.
He did the normal updating of my profile.
“Are you still taking the gabapentin?”
“Yes. 2400mg per day. It seems to be working on the sciatic pain. At any rate, I notice when I DON’T take it.”
“Good. Are you taking anything else?”
“I’m sometimes taking clonazepam to insure good sleep. I’m experimenting with amphetamine to counteract listlessness. And I’m taking tylenol 3 to help with pain.”
“Bourbon!” Special Ed chimed in.
“Ok. Is it working?”
“It seems to be.”
I reported that we had been to another doctor for a second opinion, and that it had been just like his.
“Yup. with either Avastin or Erbitux.”
“So. What do you want to do?”
” . . Nothing at all.”
He didn’t blink or stop smiling.
He needed no explanation and I felt intense relief.
We discussed clinical trials, and the various palliative chemotherapy drugs that I could take. He made it quite clear that these were things that I could try or not, and could stop at any time if I did try. He also made it quite clear that I would have to fire him for him to stop being my doctor. That the decisions were up to me, and that he was there to advise.
I still haven’t found the time or the words to write an essay here about this decision. Perhaps if my doctor doesn’t need to hear a rationale, then neither do you. Maybe you already get it. Or perhaps I can give it to you in pieces.
In general lately, I’m finding that there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Yesterday while I was working in the shop I had a moment of real sadness. I was working well. Things were making sense. I was having no trouble solving fabrication puzzles. I was enjoying myself. I was building a beautiful bike.
“Shit. I’m just getting good at this.”