Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ganglions and more

About six months ago I slipped in my apartment and I fell toward my bed. I stupidly put out my hand to break my fall (I shouldn't have done that...I was positioned to fall on my bed, which is soft, so it was completely unnecessary), and my left wrist immediately started to hurt. It didn't swell or turn purple, so I figured there was no fracture and I just left it alone.

But then I developed a bump on my wrist. Other family members have had these before, so I knew it was harmless, but it was annoying. I could no longer do things like push-ups (not that I do those that much anyway! ha!) because I couldn't support any weight on the wrist if I bent it. I knew that these bumps (which are actually ganglion cysts) sometimes spontaneously go away, so I decided to leave it alone. But increasing stress at work and an expanding waist line made me want to start exercising and doing yoga again (which would be impossible with the bump on my wrist), prompting me to finally get it checked out.

The doctor did an X-ray to rule out any bone problems, and then an MRI determined that yes, it was indeed a ganglion cyst. "I have one, too. See?" he said, bending his wrist to show me. "These can be drained, but I'm afraid of needles, so I decided to leave it alone," he laughed.

Though that unexpected confession from the doctor left me feeling a bit unsure about his ability to calmly handle a syringe, I decided to have mine drained. I told the doctor about the times I have fainted in the past after having blood drawn, and he laughed and said, "Well, I'll have you lie down, then. I should tell you, though, there is a chance that I won't be able to drain this successfully because it is so small." My heart skipped a few beats and then proceeded to speed up infinitely. I felt sweat form under my arms. I have always disliked needles, but after I fainted and fell out of my chair, hitting my head on the way down and then waking up in a puddle of cold sweat three years ago, the fear has grown stronger. "I want to give it a try, though," I said meekly, as my gut screamed out, "NO!!!"

The doctor stepped into the back of the office for a few minutes and returned with an alumninum tray carrying a syringe, a band-aid, and a small white towel. I felt the prick of the needle as it entered my wrist and then the uncomfortable pressure of him draining what he called the "jelly" from within the cyst. It was over in just a few moments, and as he put the band-aid on I smiled as I pictured myself in the yoga studio once again, on my way to a slimmer body and a more relaxed attitude.

"Thank you," I said as I walked out of the examination room and sat down next to R who was reading a book in the waiting room.

"How did it go?" asked R. "Is it gone?"

"It wasn't too bad," I said. "Hopefully it won't come back."

That's what the 18-wheeler truck hit me. Or at least that's what it sounded like. My ears were filled with an incredible roaring sound, and a wave of nausea came over me. I leaned into R. "I feel sick..."

The next thing I remember is opening my eyes and panicking because I had no idea where I was. I turned to the left and saw R, and immediately relaxed. I had fallen into him when I fainted, which saved me from any injury-inducing hard floors. "Are you ok?" he asked as he wiped the sweat off my forehead with his hand. "You were convulsing! Are you alright?"
Before I could answer, the 18-wheeler truck came back. Yet again nausea came over me, and this time I did not fight it. I went out again, and this time awoke to R calling for a nurse from our seat.

"Did she have blood taken?" the nurse asked R as she cleared the seat next to me so I could lie down.

"No...she had a cyst removed."

"Poor thing. I'll go get some water."

I slowly came back to life lying on the vinyl sofa. I felt as though I had just run a marathon...sweat glued my clothes to my skin, I had tears streaming down my face, and I felt so, so tired. I felt the gaze of the other waiting patients on me as I tried to pull myself together.
After a cup of water kindly offered by a nurse, I felt much better. I stood up to leave, but a nurse rushed over to stop me.

"Wait! We'll find a bed for you, and we want you to lie down for a while. Stay here."

The nurse soon came back and led me through a side corridor of the hospital. "I found an available bed," she said as she led me into the emergency room.

I climbed into the offered bed hesitantly. Of course the hospital didn't want me to leave yet for liability reasons (and probably genuine concern, too), but lying down in the glaringly bright emergency room didn't sound like that much fun, either. A nurse took my blood pressure: 102 over 56.

After about 20 minutes, a nurse on the other side of the curtain from my bed started to make phone calls. "Doctor, this is the emergency room. We have a 81 year old man coming in approximately seven minutes who fell down five flights of stairs. Please come right away."
It was definitely time for me to go.

I scrambled out of the bed and handed the blanket I had used to the nurse. "Thank you very much," I said gratefully. "I'm sorry for the trouble."

I paid my bill of 450 yen at the hospital front reception and then R and I walked outside into the oppressive humidity. As we walked to our bicycles parked nearby a few light raindrops fell.

"There's no way I'm letting you get on that bicycle," said R. "You might faint and I wouldn't be able to break your fall."

We unlocked our bicycles and then walked with them side-by-side toward the shopping arcade.

"And let's go to Mos Burger," R proposed. "I think you could use some protein."


Taiko Tari said...

Hi Deena,
I'm so glad the ganglions have been removed and I must say you were doing very well merely hours after the procedure. And we were playing frisbee too the next day!! Speedy recovery indeed. Must say the name of the cyst sounds a little monstrous. Either that, or it also reminds me of dandelions. :c)

deenster said...

Ganglions, dandelions! You made me laugh, Tari! :-) I had a lot of fun playing frisbee on Sunday...the first time I had picked one up in years!! Looking forward to hanging out in the park again!

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