If you smell something burning don’t worry. It’s you.

Hannibal Lecter

Journal Entry from December 2012.

Today was another interesting experience, which will certainly add to the chapter of my memoirs dedicated to all of the physicians in my life. Perhaps the title might be, A Doctor’s Love Story: Jamey Kept the Medical Fires Burning. Too much? Then perhaps a more appropriate title would be, Knees, Noses, Shoulders, Toes and Tumors: Rebuild’em, Break’em, Separate’em and Extract’em. Plenty of time to test market the title, so in the mean time I’ll give you the 411 on my field trip to the surgical center. In short, I had a tumor removed from the lower left back of my neck, just below my skull. I was told the type of tumor was a Lipoma which is basically a soft tissue mass generally occurring in adults 40-60 yrs old. Nearly all are benign and for the most part easily removed. The easily removable party of the general definition however did not apply to me. I was awake for the procedure, which proved to provide an entirely new level of experience. You can’t say ya lived until you are laying (or is it lying?) on an operating room table listening to the sounds of a surgeon snip pieces of flesh from the base of your skull. The sound vibrates throughout your entire head. Not mono, pure stereo. Once the doctor was “in” he said and I quote, “Hmm that’s not what I expected.” At this point I thought asking for another shot might be a good idea. And I was right. What the doctor was looking at was that the tumor had attached itself to the base of my skull, to the bone. When he told me, my response was simply, “Awesome, this is gonna suck!” Now what comes next is the most fantastic understatement of the millennium. The doctor said, “You might feel some pressure and a little sting.” Once they removed me from the ceiling I thought another and much larger shot might be a good idea and to keep’em coming. I felt warmth running down my neck and over my shoulder as I stared into the faded blue smock of the surgical assistant. I figured the local was really working, numbing well past the base of my skull. Then I heard, I need suction and the cautery. The doctor said, “Wow, this is really bleeding. You keep surprising me.” I responded, “Just happy to help- out and keep ya on your toes.” I went back to staring and listening to the symphony of sounds all emanating from the hole in my head. I do have to say I enjoyed the wit of the doctor and nurse. Just as he was beginning to cauterize the blood vessels, the nurse said, “You’re gonna smell something burning. Don’t worry. It’s just you.” Oh, we all got a good laugh out of that one. Once the bleeding and laughing subsided the doctor was back to work. Snip, snip. Cut, cut. Scrape, scrap. Sizzle, sizzle. What felt like hours was just shy of 60 minutes, but oh what a memorable time it was. Dinner with Hannibal Lecter? The Spanish Inquisition? Yeah, I think I have an idea. Perhaps the best new years resolution is not to quite drinking, cut back on coffee, or read more books, but just say no to the ER. Hell, who am I kidding. That’s never gonna happen. We are a match made in Heaven.

Benign tumor

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