Yesterday, after a long and arduous day at work, I arrived home to have wife Suellen scold me for missing an important appointment at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Center.
"Who, me? You're saying I missed an appointment at the transplantation center? No way!"
I was stunned at the news, and the scolding, as I always am, or pretend to be, when Suellen scolds me with her skilled look and dour expression and searing words that penetrate my usually guilty soul like a steak knife (with serrated blade). Here I was, being called on the carpet, especially that dreaded Suellen carpet. I've been called on her carpet so many times there is a hole where I stand. Suellen is skilled in marital argumentation, and I cannot compete with her oratorial skills. So I should learn to shut up, even though I have not yet managed to shut up for 31 years of happy marriage.
She restated her grand pronouncement and indicated that the proof was the letter on the table.
"This letter is to advise you that you missed your clinic appointment on 10/27/2009. Return appointments are important to insure proper medical care . . ."
What? I had to think. The date, indeed, was the same day I spent about seven hours at the transplantation institute, where I met with about as many people as I have fingers and surrendered 16 vials of blood, all in the name of better health. I took a tuberculosis test, underwent three hands-on, groin-poking physical examinations, while listening to more lectures, and storing away more information into my brain files and learning more in those hours than I had since college. So much happened at the transplantation institute that my blood sugar had become almost dangerously low by the time I left the place.
Then the next day after the evaluation, I received an e-mail proclaiming my PSA test (test of antigens that could indicate prostate caner) was too high, requiring a retest to see if I have prostate problems. Just one month previous my PSA level had been well within the normal range. The institute also added another test to the 15 I'd already taken, this time an doppler carotid ultrasound. I had that test taken on Wednesday and await results. The test was required because I have had type 1 diabetes for 40 years, and they want to make sure my veins are clear enough to handle a transplant. They want both lanes of my arterial highways to be open, rather than be PennDOT-like with one lane or even a makeshift berm open with backed-up traffic and orange cones everywhere.
Or at least that's my interpretation.
In fact they were volleying around the idea of having me get an ultrasound of that much-poked groin artery, but they decided against it after all three certified pokers detected a reasonably healthy pulse.
This is a long way of saying, I DID NOT MISS MY APPOINTMENT, TRANSPLANTATION INSTITUTE. I was the warm-blooded mammal slumped in the chair all morning -- you know, the one with the orange hair, round goofy face and too-happy expression I employed try convincing everyone that I was transplant worthy.
How'd they miss my presence last week?
So I called the transplantation institute this morning. I had an edge to my voice. The person on phone took my social security number. I waited. She checked. Seconds ticked. And, yes, ultimately she apologized.
"Were you the warm-blooded mammal slumped in the chair with clown-colored hair, the pie face and obviously false smile ... ?"
"Yes, yes, that was I."
OK, I kid the lady.
She didn't use the phrase "obviously false."
Actually, she was very nice, kind and apologetic. Indeed, she admitted the letter was one gigantic mistake. Don't tell the transplant people, but I even heard a bit of a snicker in her voice when she said someone there at the institute had made a mistake.
Never mind that letter, she said.
And I can't wait to tell Suellen. I won't be on the carpet tonight, at least not for that.
I certainly understand that mistakes do happen.
I'm hoping there were other mistakes that occurred the day of my transplant evaluation, including the high PSA reading they found with my blood tests. I would roundly welcome that mistake, especially if the reading turns out to be in the normal range when I have the test taken yet again on my return visit to my urologist, Dr. Ronald Benoit. If not, I hope he can explain how my PSA test more than doubled in just one month.
I offer yet another update, this time concerning the fact that my blood-sugar levels stabilized once I began using a new Novolog insulin pen earlier this week. A blog reader suggested doing what she does with her child's insulin pens: She marks the date of first use on the label of each new pen, and that method works for her, so she knows when 30 days has expired and the insulin has grown stale.
That likely explains why I could not lower my sugar levels that particular day despite taking shot after shot. (See previous blog concerning that fun day.) Perhaps I'll adopt the reader's suggestion.
And that insulin pen is destined for the insulin Penitentiary.