Thursday, 22 March 2012
No, I'm sure I've told you that I'm on this mega powerful drug methotrexate which in large dosages is used to kill cancer and in smaller dosages can inhibit psoriasis and psorotic arthritis (which I have, but none too seriously). The thing is it's broken down in the liver as are most nasties and it does put the poor old largest organ in the body ( thank you Errol, you can put that one away) under considerable strain.
Which is why I stopped drinking for 6 months. I now drink infrequently - for me. Anyway, my lovely under consultant at the hospital suggested that a couple of my liver protein readings were high and a scan would help. She didn't say why but I suspect she was worried that it was inflamed or pulsating or doing something it aught not to.
About six weeks ago I booked my appointment. I subsequently received a letter which had all the appearance of my military call up papers. I was to report promptly at 12 noon to the reception. Any lateness would not be tolerated and because the place was so cramped only one companion was allowed to accompany you to the scaffold. I could eat up to 10 hours before the scan. Luckily it was not until noon and that meant I could celebrate my missus's birthday until 2 am that morning.
I turned up half an hour early and sat in the hospital corridor. It was like being on our local High Street. If someone wasn't wheeling a anaesthetised carcase or two, someone else was trundling along with caseloads of medical files. You could tell the doctors; they looked really ill and the management staff - they looked extremely pleased with their executive suits and iPads. I muttered "Re-organisation" under my breath and they quickened their step.
At 3 minutes to 12 I presented myself at the reception. I'm a great believer that one's surrounding makes a great difference to one's mood. The reception area looked like an old fashioned unemployment office on a bad,wet, cold day. The receptionist's manner perfectly captured that.
Yet I survived the grilling and made my way to the waiting area. My bum had hardly lowered itself onto the seat before it jerked itself up again as my name echoed through the corridors of the facility. A broadly built man with a broad north of the Wash accent, invited me to expose my stomach and recline on a medical table while he nursed his ultra sound machine into life.
This took about as long as it used to take our old valve TV to warm up. To break the silence ( except for the hum of the machine) I commented on the fact that you can't trust the Germans like you could the good old builders of Pye and Ferguson TVs - the machine a humming being a Siemens - there must be some deep filthy connection there. He nodded silently but swore at the flickering screen on which you could dimly glimpse "OK to Go".
On seeing this my bulky attendant, squirted some cold liquid all over my tummy and chest and after telling me to breath deeply scanned my body. It took a matter of minutes and I was left covered in goo which I tried inexpertly to remove with some extra large hospital tissue. The sort that is guaranteed to spread rather than absorb any noxious materials.
Before I left I asked whether I could know the sex of my liver. I'm sure it's male because I saw the ultra sound image and it looked like there was a vestigial penis in the left hand corner.
We're going to call him Merlot after his favourite tipple.