The Biopsy

I had my first biopsy last week.  It was an interesting new experience.  My GP has been ‘watching and waiting’ some thyroid nodules for a few years.  On this year’s ultrasound one of the nodules had reached the size that should be investigated.  With some trepidation I set off for the hospital and found a parking space straight away – that was miraculous!

Going for a procedure in the USA is full of ridiculous bureaucracy but curiously there was no payment requested.  More trepidation…  It’s possible I have used my deductible (about $5000), if not they will send me a bill, post haste.  After almost 2 decades living here, I don’t even bother to look at what I am signing.  Eventually I got to another desk where I filled in even more documents about my current health.  They took me to a small unit with single bedrooms for the procedures.

The very nice lady asked even more questions. “What is your name, date of birth and why are you here?”  Then she presented even more documents.  I may have sold my soul because I signed everything including the one that alluded to their hand slipping, slitting my artery and me needed lots of blood transfusions full of monkey pox or whatever glamorous name the CDC are going to call it.

While all this was going on, I could hear a man in the next room talking relentlessly.  Was anyone responding to him or was he on his cell phone?  There is a strange lady in our street who goes for a walk around the ‘hood’ and talks the whole time.  She has an ear piece in but I think she might be talking to herself or the voices in her head?  The nurse took pity on me and found a remote so I could watch the one channel working on the TV.  Thank the Lord it wasn’t Fox News…  I tried to focus on Law and Order but the fella next door just kept talking.  I regretted not taking my Xanax.

Then the door was wedged open so I could see other patients in various states of undress.  One man across the way was preparing to strip not realizing I could see him.  His nurse ruined everything by closing his door – dang it.  Suddenly the ‘talk the hind legs off a donkey’ man appeared in my doorway.  He looked like he was reversing into my room and I had an excellent view of his underpants because his gown wasn’t fastened at the back.  I wondered about laughing or crying but then it struck me that he was a poor old soul, likely suffering with a dementia.  He made it to the bathroom, talking all the way.  The nurses retrieved him and took him back to his room, not mine.

My team arrived in a flurry.  There was an ultrasound technician to locate the little blighter, the nurse practitioner who was going to do the biopsy and the assistant who was doing all the sterile stuff.  They injected lidocaine (numbing agent) around the area at the base of my neck, using the tumescent technique which I knew all about because I am addicted to Dr. Pimple Popper.  Yet again they asked me “Who are you, when were you born and why are you here”.  After that was confirmed, she said, “The lidocaine will really sting but you shouldn’t feel the biopsy needle”.  Not exactly reassuring but correct.  It is very strange having a numbing sensation in your throat instead of your teeth.

During the fairly short procedure, I could hear the talker next door loudly objecting to signing all the papers. “Why would I need a blood transfusion?” The nurse responded, also very loudly, “Well, Mr. Talker, you are having a lung biopsy, so it’s just in case something happens”.  She had the patience of a saint and was very kind to him.  I really wanted to chuckle but I had to stay still.  After it was completed, they told me that it was possible that the results would be inconclusive because it was a watery cyst.  That’s a good sign although there is a very small chance of cancerous cells floating in the liquid.  My gut feeling is that it’s yet another of my odd yet benign cysts that lurk throughout my body.  What should I name her – ‘Nora Nodule’ perhaps?  The one in my chest cavity is called ‘Pumpkin’ because she was discovered at Halloween.  Still to name the one in my bile duct – he feels a bit creepy.  What a place for a cyst to hide!

They left me in the room to rest for a bit with an icepack on the puncture.  I felt perfectly fine so just got dressed and went out to get my discharge papers.  On the way home I popped into the Purgatorial Post Office which I usually avoid at all costs.  The staff are snotty and there is always a queue.  The assistant who served me was entirely silent during our transaction.  I hoped he was unnerved by my mask, the Band-Aid on my neck and the two patient wristbands (one was bright red for the Monkey Pox transfusion).  Why are they so difficult to cut off?

Still waiting for results but there was no bruise, little swelling and just a little discomfort.  Compared to life during the Pandemic I would class this as a fun day out!