Random thoughts, part 1

I usually try to think of a theme for my posts here, but I have so many thoughts running around my head these days that it’s hard to focus on one. I also try to think of something positive to add so that someone who comes to this site searching for hopeful information about melanoma doesn’t get too disheartened by what they read here just because I might be having a bad day. As far as the melanoma goes, the good days far outnumber the bad. I have to keep reminding myself of that, even when I get down because of the other things going on in the world and in my life.

First the melanoma report. I have been NED since at least February of last year. I feel good. On Saturday, I went to Yale to have my 4-month scans (delayed slightly because of COVID-19) and to have blood work. I have a telemedicine video call with my doctor tomorrow afternoon to discuss the results of the scans. I have already received the results of the blood work and everything looks pretty good. I even had some tests done for my endocrinologist to follow up on my diabetes management and even those look good. My thyroid levels are normal and my cholesterol is back in the normal range. Yay! No statins for me. While I’m still a little nervous about the results of the scans, not overly so, because I feel good and the blood work is good, so why shouldn’t the scans be good?

Saturday’s visit to Yale was my first visit to a hospital or any other type of medical facility since the coronavirus hit the fan. I was much more nervous about that than about the scans themselves. I was was originally scheduled to have my blood work, CT scan and MRI done on the same day, but at three different facilities within the Yale system. I was nervous enough about going to one facility, let alone three. so I rescheduled my scans to all happen at Yale’s Saint Raphael campus. It was my first time there, and I hope my last. I’m willing to cut them some slack because they’re dealing with operating during a pandemic, but I thought some of the staff members lacked the professionalism that I’ve come to expect from Yale. The good news is that this was Saturday and the place was not very busy at all. As for the bad news, I interacted with two staff members (Radiology receptionist and MRI tech) whose idea of wearing a face mask was to cover their mouth, but not their nose. No one is allowed to enter without a face mask. Lynn gave me an N95 mask which I wore in but had to swap out for a hospital supplied mask because the N95 mask had metal around the nose portion of the mask. I wore that mask for the rest of my visit. I’m not sure how the hospital staff gets away with only partially covering their face.

Then, there was a mix-up between my MRI and CT scans. After the MRI, I was parked in the waiting area and told someone would come and get me to bring me for my CT scan. Apparently, the MRI people thought the CT people were going to do that and the CT people thought the MRI people were going to do that. I waited there for 45 minutes before that was straightened out. Then, when I did get to the CT scan, the tech almost blew out a vein injecting the contrast fluid (or saline, I’m not sure which) too fast. I let out a loud OW! and he slowed down. I’ve never had that experience before and I don’t know if the guy was in a hurry or just not very good at his job but it hurt like hell and that area was sore and swollen for some time after that. After all this I was able to take off that darn mask and drive myself home. Lynn did not accompany me there because patients are not allowed to have anyone with them in the hospital for these visits.

And guess what? The next day we end up going to another hospital. Without going into details and violating HIPAA regulations, Lynn had been dealing with an issue that she hoped would clear up on its own. Sunday morning she had intense pain that scared us both enough to make a trip to the local ER. It turned out to be not serious but there I was again in another hospital, this time with Lynn. She was just as anxious in the hospital as I was the day before, probably more so. It wasn’t too bad, the ER was not busy at all. This pandemic seems to be cutting down on the number of people who go to the hospital voluntarily. The staff were professional, we didn’t have to come within 6 feet of too many people, and we were out of there in a couple of hours. Still, we’ll both feel better after 14 days or so and we know that we didn’t catch anything this weekend. I’m also glad that my doctor’s appointment tomorrow is a video call.

There are a few more things that I wanted to write about in this post. That’s why I titled it “Random thoughts.” I think this post is long enough for now and I cover the other things tomorrow. Take care and stay safe.

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