Friday, May 21, 2010
But lumps don’t count as part of aging, so I called for a doctor’s appointment and got one for the Friday of that same week. My doctor told me they were not bone cancer (my original worry), only cysts. I have had small cysts on my head several times in the last twenty years – the one I have now is the fourth. The first three I had removed; but for this fourth one, the dermatologist here prescribed two creams to apply each day and after a while it became smaller and has stayed the same now for over two years, so I just leave it alone. When it comes to my body, if it ain’t truly broke, I don’t mess with it.
However, the doctor said the ones on my knees would probably just continue to grow indefinitely so she authorized for me to go see a specialist – a surgeon – in Tortosa. I was given an appointment for the following Tuesday.
I am a great chicken when it comes to illness, pain, and almost any kind of medical procedure, with surgery being at the top of the list for what to avoid at all costs. But I did a good job of not worrying too much. Since Doctor Nadal had assured me that they weren’t bone cancer, I figured this wouldn’t be much worse than the surgeries I’ve had on the small cysts. Grow up Dvora; it isn’t enough to lose sleep over
In my village the health service has a small building where the regular GPs and pediatricians work, where you can go in case of an emergency 24 hours a day, and where the ambulance is stationed. But specialists are housed in larger clinics and the nearest one to us is in Tortosa.
Now I did start to worry about having surgery, not just on one knee, but on both and not just because of a little fat-filled cyst but something more complicated. Would they do both at the same time? How would I get around? My bathroom is on a half landing, how would I get to it? My bedroom is upstairs. Would I be able to bend over to feed the cats and clean kitty poop from their boxes? Would I be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life? I really should not be turned loose with my own thoughts when an illness or health issue looms.
That Monday, the wait for the traumatòleg was over an hour. These doctors are public health service employees and don’t have a say in how many people get scheduled in. Some people went in and out quickly and others took longer. Frankly, I was happy that she (as it turned out) was giving everyone who came the time and attention they needed. Keep in mind that none of these doctor and specialist appointments were costing me a penny. When my turn came, I explained my problem briefly (in Catalan – all my conversations with medical personnel are in Catalan), she had my record already on her computer screen, and she proceeded to examine me.
The traumatòleg confirmed that these were Baker’s cysts, and that they were probably the result of sitting a lot. She would authorize an ecogram to take a better look but she didn’t think surgery would be necessary. I was so relieved I kissed her. No surgery, no drugs, no creams. I could treat them myself. But I couldn’t quite understand what she was telling me to do twice a day for twenty minutes. Put something against the cysts? Had I heard right? I didn’t even need to go to a pharmacy. I just needed to go to a grocery store and buy two bags of frozen peas!