Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Pains in the Neck

There's a new member of my medical rogues' gallery: the technologist who did the guiding in the ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of my thyroid today.

But first, the good news: my thyroid may be asymmetrical, and it may not be working as well as it should be, but at least it is cancer-free. Hooray!

Back to the rogue in question.

First, she banished Zach from the procedure room. You know how charming he can be, and she was having none of it.

Then she gave me the automaton-inflected spiel about the FNA, which I will summarize as "pinch-burn-wiggle." Pinch and burn refer to the local anesthetic; wiggle refers to the FNA itself—as in the doctor has to wiggle the needle in order to collect the cells. Great description, huh? Just makes you want to sign right up, doesn't it?

Then she disputed my account of my existing thyroid condition. One cause of hypothyroidism is called Hashimoto's disease, in which the body produces antibodies that attack the thyroid. I was tested for these antibodies, however, and don't seem to have them, which means, by definition, that I don't have Hashimoto's disease. When the pathologist (who was in the room during the procedure) said something about it in reference to my case, I piped up with, "I don't have Hashimoto's." The rogue then said, in a voice that carried overtones of a sneer, "Are you shoooooooooooore??"

No, I just make these things up to amuse myself.

Seriously, what stake could I possibly have in whether or not I have Hashimoto's disease? What on earth would lead me to claim that I didn't when I knew in my heart that I did?

In fact, if I had Hashimoto's disease, my endocrinologist wouldn't have sent me for the stick in the neck in the first place, because Hashimoto's involves metabolic activity, and that in itself would have explained why my thyroid lit up on the PET/CT scan. The only reason the endocrinologist sent me for the FNA at all was because he couldn't attribute the PET/CT results to Hashimoto's, and he wanted to make sure that nothing untoward was going on.

But hey, I look like a masochist, right?

When all was said and done (a total of three sticks in the neck—the local plus two FNAs, just because I was there, just to be safe), the rogue escorted me back to the little changing room where Zach was waiting for me. And then she completely infuriated me by telling him, in a tone one might use to talk about one's child in front of that child, that I'd been "a real trouper."

Good thing she didn't try to pat me on the head.

She did, however, feel it necessary to get the last word in. We really do think you have Hashimoto's, she said.

Honey, if being right about what's going on inside my thyroid gives you whatever kind of power you are so clearly tripping on, fine by me.

You're still a rogue in my book.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm impressed that you chose the very classy label "rogue" to refer to this doctor. Very savvy. Wonder how much trouble you'd get in if you punched her out? You could always blame it on your bad arm... :)


January 19, 2006 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic SHITHEAD Doctor Diagnosis

January 20, 2006 7:26 PM  

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