Saturday, June 20, 2009

Eeeeek!!!...Yiiiikes!!!... Luuuunch!!!...

In my last entry, I recounted my little trip to the Infusion Center for my bi-monthly phlebotomy. As part of that narration, I included my observations on various radio and television programs that I thought were germane to the topic. My gimpy nurse had caused a great deal of reflection and I thought that my readers would find my ruminations entertaining, if not completely informative in their quest to know more about my genetic condition that afflicts 1 in every 250 persons on this planet. This is an eclectic blog, one filled with a vast collection of strange facts designed to expand horizons, illuminate minds, and completely distract the reader from the oppressive notion that he or she has an incurable disease. That is why I write it, that is why you should read it.

This past Monday I went to the University of Utah Medical Center to have my bi-monthly ferritin check. I checked in a few minutes before the appointed time. The receptionist said, "'She Who Shall Remain Nameless' will be with you in just a moment; she is out to lunch, but that is over at 1:30".

For some reason I was feeling a little edgy, maybe even a little grumpy. I am not certain why. I suspect that I am tired of being inconvenienced by every mal-functioning organ in my body at a time I would rather be doing something else. Actually, I only have one mal-functioning organ and that is my duodenum, and it is really not mal-functioning as it is over-functioning, slurping three times as much iron out of my daily repasts that the normal human duodenum does. Actually, since I am retired there isn't much that constitutes inconvenience either, except for the debilitating practice of sitting in front of a computer for nine hours a day. Every time I go outside for the phlebotomy or the ferritin check, my Gollum-like eyes have to adjust the the sunlight: "Eeeeek!!! My Preciousssss!!!"

Getting back to the events of Monday afternoon.... Inasmuch as I was feeling a little out of sorts, I replied to the receptionist, "You know, the last time I was here, 'She Who Shall Remain Nameless' returned from lunch and stood over there for fifteen minutes contemplating the grass growing. I have things to do, even if she thinks that I don't."

"Well, Dr. Beeblebrox, I will see to it that that does not happen again," she assured me.

At the appointed hour, the technician showed up and whisked me into the lab, and did her number on me. She was quick, efficient,... and frosty. I would like to think that she was not reciprocating my grumpiness, but I suspect that there was some hidden antipathy lurking about. The 0000-gauge needle without anesthesia I think was a dead giveaway. After I got home, about the time the cotton finger was to come off the hole in my personal dike, I found that while I was not looking, she had carved "SWSRN" over the wound. Yiiiikes!!!!

(Actually, she used the regular, painless needle and there were no initials, but I couldn't figure out any other way to get "Yiiiikes!!!" into the tale. Poetic license.)

I waited for a phone call or a note from "Doc Holliday" during the rest of the week to find out what had transpired over the last two months with only one phlebotomy. I woke up on a couple of occasions wondering how I would react to the ferritin level going up and how I would write about it. "Eeeeek!!!" and "Yiiiikes!!!" immediately came to mind as the title for the blog entry. I thought that I could have fun with that, bringing in the old Batman" television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. The series was notable for the dead-pan humor and the superimposition of balloon words during the fight scenes, like "POW!", "BAM!", and "ZOKK!". I thought of a thousand things to do with "EEEEEK!!!" and "YIIIIKES!!!". But, "ALAS!!!" it was not to be.

Yesterday the ill-fated and joyless letter arrived. My ferritin level is at 178. Two months ago at the beginning of April, the count was at 223. With only one phlebotomy, I still had dropped 45 points. The last time I went two months between phlebotomies, over Christmas vacation, I dropped 52 points. That was at the point that I was flirting with 400 points or so. What I am surmising from all this is that my body is consistent, sucking up its regular 30% of all of the iron I ingest, without attempting to replace the iron that I lose through blood-letting. It would seem reasonable to assume that for the foreseeable future, each of my bi-monthly phlebotomies will result in about a 50 point loss. Assuming this to be the case, it would follow that in six months, my iron count will be within the realm of universal approval.

Trillium and my sister will be happy, because they want my ferritin count to be less than 50 points. "Doc Holliday" will be happy because his plan will have worked wondrously well. Medicare will be happy because with a phlebotomy and ferritin check every other month or quarterly instead of monthly, they will be able to provide the rest of the nation with benefits past the year 2012, assuming that the Mayans are wrong. I will be happy because I will not be inconvenienced as frequently as I have been.

Well, what about "Luuuunch!!!"? I was surfing the net this morning and came across this picture worth more than a thousand words.

When I got the letter, I celebrated by having two "wheat-dogs" and a left-over pork-loin steak ("YUUUUM!!!"). As the evening drew near, Trillium said, "Isn't it your turn to fix dinner?" I had promised her that I would do that task sometime during the week. I sat at the table with my chin on my hands. She then said, "Why don't you get a Whopper for yourself, a kids-meal for T-ma, and a large strawberry shake for me?" As anyone who has been married for more than 40 years knows, Trillium was simply reading my mind. I decided not to go to Burger King, however. A new place has just opened here in Orem, a franchise out of Chandler, Arizona, called the "Heart Attack Grill". I got myself a "Quadruple Bypass Burger", shown here in living color.