how many thoughts can
a body accumulate
over a lifetime?
19 at my last count. 20 counting this one.
i’ve been thinking in terms of lifetimes these days. i guess maybe even mortality. i suppose it’s a natural thing, on a birthday. but my birthday actually began on the night before, at the doctor’s office. last week, i underwent an ultrasound to try to determine why my alkaline phosphatase level (I think that’s what it was) had skyrocketed 100% over the past 2 months. And i guess this can be an indicator for cancer or pancreatitis, or kidney disease or liver disease or gall stones or kidney stones or other things beyond my comprehension. my doctor was giving me this extremely intricately long-winded explanation of his detective work, and how one organ could impact another (complete with drawings), leading to any number of possibilities. And, one-by-one he went through each possibility and eventually refuted each, one-by-one… finally, finally concluding that he is 99% certain i don’t have cancer, but he added, trying to figure this out was like chasing his tail … and he wants me to have an MRI next week… just as a precaution. A few times in his rapidly moving sentences, he added “thank God” a few times.
But before I left his office, he asked the nurse to draw more blood, and I didn’t realize just how much she was drawing. there was a lot of it. Then she noticed on my records that it was about to be my birthday. And she said, i hope you do something really nice to treat yourself on your birthday, especially after all this.
I really didn’t have anything planned, but i felt obliged to do something to celebrate the 99% probability. and the only thing i could think of was sushi.
i spent most of today trying to look at this as just this absurd, surreal experience … when i was not avoiding thinking about it at all. but then, when my sister called to wish me happy birthday, i am not exactly sure what happened but the floodgates let loose and i kind of lost it, and i stood there, in a lobby, muted sobbing. but gathered myself back, because it was alarming to me to incite any alarm in anyone else. or maybe i was just alarmed by the floodgates. because chances are, it’s all nothing.