Providence and grace

August 23, 2007 at 1:23 am (That's not funny...)

I’m tired tonight. Had to get up early and go to the doctor. Mostly a check-up, but some peace of mind as well. For the last couple of weeks, there’s been a lump near my spine.

I’ve have a herniated disc for years. It bothered me up until about five years ago, when brother-in-law and I were rear-ended in a car accident. Oddly enough, the wreck knocked things back into place, and I’ve been mostly pain-free since.

I noticed the lump last week, and figured my back would start hurting. The lump started growing, as did my concern. I showed it toThatgirl, and the look on her face was a little spooky. “You should have that looked at,” were her words.

It had been a couple of years, so I made an appointment for a check-up, and went this morning. The PACE Clinic is a low-income option Providence Hospital sponsors for its interns and residents. I have been through several medical situations there, and they always treat me like royalty.

After checking in with the receptionist, (and listening to a junkie attempt to wheedle a better ‘scrip…) I was led to the back. I got weighed. (Gained 35 pounds in two years, but lost two shirt sizes. WTF?) Vitals were taken, and I was given an open-backed gown. After twenty minutes of feeling like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show, a lovely young doctor came in.

She checked my chart, snapped on gloves and felt me up. “I’ve never heard of or seen a disc bulge out like that. It’s got to be something else.” She left to fetch a supervisor, another young lady. After more probing and squeezing, they stepped out again, and came back with an older gentleman, introduced as an infection specialist. I heard words like subdermal, carbuncle, and other ‘uncles’ I’d never met.

Then the elder doctor told me, “It looks like you have a boil of some sort under the skin. In a couple of days, after it has time to, um, mature, come back and we’ll take care of it for you.” Poof! He was gone.

They drew a circle around the swelling, and said if it got worse, or bigger, or if I got a fever, to come in immediately. The resident smiled, “It’s kind of anti-climactic. I won’t be here to see how it turns out.”

“Don’t get to witness the miracle of the birth, as it were?” I thought she’d wince, but she was most professional.

“No, the death of the super-zit will have to happen without me.”

Can she be my doctor forever?

So, after all the pontificating about mortality the last few days, I am off the hook once again. It was a nice reminder of how precious life is, and how quickly it can disappear if you let it.

I must thank Providence. They have saved my life a couple of times now, and written off medical bills in amounts that could pay off my house. I don’t have to worry if this is the end. I can call them, and within a few days I am back on the path to obnoxiousness.

For which I am eternally grateful. Thank you.

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