This is your spleen on [Canadian] drugs

My spleen and I waited an hour in a very cold waiting room full of old people for a nurse at the doctor’s office to put us in a room, where she took my blood pressure and pulse. A half hour later, the surgeon came in and felt around on my ribs for a minute and then left to look at the CD of my Canadian cat scan.


I was not on any illegal drugs, as the title of this post might lead you to believe. The squiggly is, I think, a coil the doctor in Canada threaded in to stop some bleeding.

“Wow, you were really lucky,” she explained, with a raised eyebrow and playful half smile as if to say, “I’m a nerd and looking at this stuff makes me feel like an eighteen-year-old boy watching porn.” She went on to explain that the part of my spleen that broke  was the part where all the blood vessels come in. Not only did I somehow avoid getting a blood transfusion, but there was hardly any blood in my abdomen and I didn’t lose my spleen. Lucky.

That’s not really what I wanted to hear. I don’t want to know that I almost lost an entire organ, that I had a very serious accident and that my spleen, to which I’ve become rather attached as of late, almost died. No, what I wanted to hear was “Yeah, you’re fine. This was never any big deal. Get out of here and don’t ever come back.” Or, better yet, “This was all a nightmare and you’re going to wake up now.”

The doctor said there’s a very, very minor chance of a delayed rupture or my spleen dying around this time, but I would have felt severe pain, dizziness, and had a lot of noticeable swelling. She said most of her spleen patients are drunk on a ladder or roof when they fall and injure themselves and then go back and do the same thing again.

It would also be “cool,” she said with another half-grin, to get another CT just to see what it looks like–to see how much of my spleen died, or maybe even if the whole thing is now gone. All of which seems way more medically significant than simply being a fun thing to look at.

I have lost like 10 pounds from the four days of liquids at the hospital and a month of inactivity so I asked, very nicely, if I could please exercise again. She hesitated. “Oh, Jesus, now if something happens to you it’s going to be my fault. Yes, you can run, play tennis, lift weights…just be careful,” noting that if I fell and hit my midsection–like by the same sort of misfortune that brought me to where I am now–well, that’d be bad news.

So I guess my spleen and I are going to have to be content to sit tight for a little while longer, although my labs look good and (if my spleen is still alive) it’s likely fine. We’ve really bonded through this ordeal, and are now enjoying a cup of coffee while the remains of Tropical Storm Ida blow through Madisonville.


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One response to “This is your spleen on [Canadian] drugs

  1. Pingback: Kayaks and hair metal « See. Write. Live.

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