So I Have this Tumor

I wake up last Saturday and totally find this eyeball-shaped object in my belly. It’s on my right side, just below my floating rib and under my protective layer of fat. It’s not painful or anything; it just sits there, chuckling quietly.

“I’m dead,” I think. I totally need to ignore this. Maybe it will go away. If I die before I get the chicken coop done I’m gonna haunt the goddamned thing. I’m starting to get upset.

Clearly this is going to require some expert ignoring. I decide to call the doctor’s on Monday, and in the meantime paint the chicken coop. I don’t want to tell my wife because then it will be that much more difficult to ignore. I’ll tell her after I see the doctor.

Doctor Kumar will be handling my surgery.

THAT VERY DAY my wife tells me that one of our dogs has very swollen glands, which is an almost certain sign that the pooch has a terminal cancer. I decide that God (who I don’t believe in) is sending me a -frickin’ message, so I tell her right away.

She’s upset too. Now we’re both upset. One of our dogs is dying and I’ve got a mysterious eyeball-shaped item in my torso. So what’s to do?

I paint the chicken coop this lovely shade of yellow. That gets me through the weekend.

The next day I call the doctor and make an appointment for Wednesday. I keep checking the eyeball-shaped object to make sure it hasn’t suddenly vanished or started pulsing or something. My wife tells me to stop fiddling with it. Fat chance.

The week drags. The vet confirms my wife’s guess; the dog has this terminal cancer. Great. We’re both grieving for the dog and increasingly unable to ignore my extra eyeball.

Wednesday comes and I go see the doctor. She prods it a couple of times and says, “It’s probably nothing. I’m sending you to this surgeon to remove it.”

A little confused, I press her for details. If it’s nothing, why should it be removed? She says mostly for my peace of mind. I have to agree that this is a good enough reason, for the thing preys on my brain and must be destroyed. I schedule the meeting with the surgeon for Friday.

On Thursday the dog is doing better, which I choose to believe is a good sign. It sure is for the dog, anyway.

On Friday my wife and I go to the surgeon’s office. I fill out the requisite four pages of medical forms, then we go into the examining room. Naturally we’re kept waiting there for like 15 minutes, which allows us to study the single poster in the room and debate the merits of varicose vein surgery, which neither of us needs.

Then the doctor comes in. He’s a dapper fifty-something Indian-looking dude with the name of Kumar, which I can’t help but associate with the Kumar of “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle.” This oddly reassures me, though not my wife.

Dr. Kumar prods me for a couple of minutes and says, “Oh, this is nothing. Have you injured your stomach in this area at any time?”

Well yes, I have. A few weeks ago I got a big bruise in that exact location while doing what − constructing the goddamned chicken coop. I slammed into some boards, and that part of my torso totally turned various exciting stages of purple.

“Well then,” Doctor Kumar beams. “That’s it. It’s almost certainly a hematoma. Or maybe a lipoma. I can take this out easily. Shall we schedule the operation?

You’d be surprised what images come up when you do a Google search on “Nurse”.

I ask a couple of questions. He admits that we could leave it alone and see what happens, but that totally grosses me out, so we proceed. He then tells me that he’ll do the surgery in the office.

This is creepy enough, but then he cheerfully tells me that he can do it with a local. As in I’ll be awake for the procedure. I object, pointing out that I don’t especially want to be awake while some guy I just met is digging an alien fetus out of my torso.

Dr. Kumar nods sympathetically. He says that he can put me under, but to do so will make the procedure longer, more dangerous, and will require that I take a battery of embarrassing tests, including chest x-rays, full blood work, etc.

“Come on,” my wife says enthusiastically, “take the local. It won’t be so bad! If it were me, I’d want to watch the procedure!”

Great. Now my manliness has been called into question by my own frickin’ wife. Thanks, Honey!

So there you have it. A week from this coming Monday, Doctor Kumar is going to hit me with some Novocain and gut me like a trout in search of an object which may be an eyeball. I’ll be fully conscious to enjoy the experience.

And all of this as a result of a chicken-coop-related incident.

Let this be a lesson to you. I don’t know what exactly the lesson is, but it sure is a lesson. It probably involves the danger of dealing with chickens, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

And keep Tats (our sick dog) in your thoughts, willya? He’s a good boy and never messed with poultry once.


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