Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Statistical Anomaly

Another afternoon wasted in the clinical walls of Memorial Hospital.

Even when I have outpatient surgery, they slap on one of the hospital bands. You know what they look like, they all look the same.

I've been collecting them for the past four to five years. I'm not really certain why, but I have over two dozen at home plastering my bulletin board and fifteen here at work.

I could probably tie them together and make a pretty cool yet depressing Christmas chain for the tree this year.

Today I added one more to the collection.

I was informed by the scheduling receptionist on the phone that my Dialysis access would need an ultrasound.

Cool, sticky goo sliding around my arm with that wacky light pen they use. I could take that. It was uncomfortable, but it isn't very painful.

Well, she was wrong.

I was actually scheduled for an angiogram of my access. I hadn't been feeling all to spectacular the entire day. Once the nurse told me the true nature of the procedure, I asked if I could use the bathroom.

I proceeded to allow the anxiety bubbling inside my belly to release itself all over the porcelain shell of the poor, defenseless toilet.

When I exited, I discovered that she had been waiting outside.

At least she's used to it because of her profession. People at work, not so much.

When they ask me to remove my shirt for a procedure such as this, I'm usually embarrassed because over the past couple of years I've been somewhat out of shape. But lately I've been sticking with my workout routine, so when the shirt flew off, in my head I was going, "Yeah, I'll walk around shirtless. Check out this two pack. I'm skinny buff baby."

Ok, that's not really what I thought, but I wasn't the least bit embarrassed about my newfound physique. It's kinda cool actually.

A Dr. Shaw entered the waiting area and without looking into my eyes, explained the entire procedure.

I hate when doctors won't meet my gaze. It means they won't be listening to me on the operating table when I'm reeling in pain.

I would have had them add an IV drip so I'd really be about it, but I had agreed to speak to a number of resident doctors at the local teaching school about the effects of Dialysis. So I endured the pain and just had a local anasthetic.

I was strapped down to the table and my access arm (left) was fastened down to a small table extending from the regular slab.

For what seemed like an eternity, there I lay, vulnerable and defenseless. A huge Matrix-like scattering of monitors were wheeled over me obscuring my view.

"This will pinch a little," muttered Dr. Shaw.

This is a doctor's favorite cliche and it's always understated.

He rammed an ice pick sized needle into my wrist to numb the forthcoming intrusion of wiring into my looped access.

As the two previous times, it burned longer and more intense than any previous Dialysis treatment. I was trying to be quiet, but my lower body was reacting to the pain by performing an impromptu dance of uncomfortability.

"How long have you had your access Stacy?" They were trying to distract me. Fools.

I managed to mutter, "Ten years." I did the math again in my head for my own personal amusement and found it was actually nearing eleven.

"You're a statistical anomaly. I've only known one other..."

"Ooooowwwwwwooooohhhhhhh," was all I managed to return in the delicate art of operating room conversation.

As he finished his Roto Rootering of my arm, the same phrase kept burning in my memory.

"You're a statistical anomaly."

Is this all my life boils down to, when the hours wasted in medical institutions is reduced to steam, what remains of the core of my life??

"A statistical anomaly."

It's true I don't quite fit into my demographic.

I'm in my mid-30's.

No girlfriend or wife to speak of.

No house or any real estate.

No functioning kidneys.

"Statistical anomaly."

Sometimes in science, when someone is confronted with a statistical anomaly, they can do one of two things:

1) Add the anomaly to the present data and see if it continues, thus creating a pattern.

2) Toss it aside and start all over again.

That's truly what a "statistical anomaly" is...a do over.

I really wish my life were a do over.


  1. Well...I can't say anything about the past but....what about the rest of your life?

  2. Yeah dude, where do you go from here?