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(John Prine reference)

Today was PVL day. I have tried to find out what that stands for, but all of the entries I’ve found in Google are about some form of leukemia I hope I do not have, since I have had enough cancer without adding that to the ledger, or about a Filipino Volleyball League, and I know that I am not yet a member of that group (well, if I am a member, they haven’t played me yet).

It has to do with blood clots (not the volleyball league, but my version of PVL). It is sort of like a sonogram or ultrasound. It is, in fact, really rather pleasant.

When my family doc (who hasn’t been in this story for ages, has he, poor guy?) said I needed to get an updated PVL for my DVT I wanted to say FU, just to stay in the acronymial spirit, but instead I said to him, “If I get a male nurse, I will hunt you down.”

He looked at me to see if I was serious, and when he saw that I was, I’m sure he wrote some additional gibberish that only the medical professionals can decipher that said, “Make sure he gets a chick!”

Actually, knowing him, it was the exact opposite.

And he was foiled.

I strolled in this afternoon with my letter from the insurance company saying that I no longer have co-pay for stuff like this because I have paid through the wazoo (something that has not yet gone cancerous on me, wherever it is, and as far as I know), and she didn’t even want a copy like others, which probably means I WILL be paying through the wazoo at some point.

I settled down to an issue of The New Yorker from June of this year, wondering why it was in this waiting room in Virginia Beach where most of us could not care any less about who will be playing at Johnny’s Oyster Bar on Thursday night, particularly on a night that has long since passed, but I got by that and read an interesting article or two and then the lady came out and was smiling and cute and it was the same nurse I had LAST time. So I was smiling and cute too, all of a sudden.

She acted like she remembered me, probably because she had read my chart and seen her name in there and thought to herself, “Who is this guy?” and she said “Hello” and I said, with much more excitement, “Hello!” and then she said take off your pants and shoes just like last time, and I thought, damn, my wife never says that anymore and I should hang out at the hospital a lot more often than I do.

She said I should then get under the sheet.

I did all of that. Took off my shoes first, of course, since they were in the way of taking off my pants, and then I took off my pants, and I wondered, did she say to take off my socks too?

This is the sort of quandary you get into when you are focusing more on the visual than the aural, and I must admit that I was focusing more on her than on what she was saying, especially after she said to take off my pants. There is something about a woman saying to take off your pants that just sort of reroutes my synapses, and I cannot help it.

Especially if she is young and cute. As I mentioned to a friend, when you reach where I am at, being young MEANS being cute. But she was cute.

I decided, since she had left the room, that I would take matters into my own hands, or feet, as the case may be, and take off those socks as well. That is a good thing because one of them had a hole in the heel that I didn’t discover until I was putting them back on. As another friend said to me today, a lady friend by the way, women prepare much more thoroughly for these episodes than men do. She said, in fact, that she feels she needs a manicure to go to the dentist.

She said a lot of other things like that, and I replied, “Well, I’m going to take my monthly bath a week early.”

And I did! I went in there, at this frigid time of year and stripped down to nothing (before the hospital visit, of course) and was pretty pleased with the effort until I realized we had no soap, and I had no wash cloth. Only later would I find that I also had no towel. At the time, though, I went freezing out into the hallway to look for these important items and my son came into the hallway and immediately did a U-turn and asked what the hell I was doing (thinking, I guess, that I was just hanging out in the hall naked) and I told him and he said, “I’ll get the soap for you, dad.”, which is kind of him but also, wouldn’t you say, rather self-serving?

I never did get soap, although I got a washcloth. I bathed in shampoo, just like when I was single :).

I did forget to cologne certain strategic parts of my body and I also had to go back out into the hall for a towel, knowing that there were probably 3,000 full-bodied, completely washed, completely dried, towels out in the den, towels that I had washed, dried, and folded just that very morning. Luckily, there were a few in the closet in the hall as well.

Which means I wasn’t all that wet when I went to see my nurse/masseuse.

I took off my socks, and then worried only about my underwear. I wear boxers mostly, and they tend to let things fall through the crevices if you know what I mean and I think you do. And I am shy.

Fortunately, I was provided a sheet to dive beneath before she came back into the room.

Unfortunately, (or maybe really fortunately) as soon as she came in, she swiped half the sheet away and stuck a piece of it up into my underwear, to cover my crotch, apparently unaware, as I was too, until later, that a part of my, um crotch, was starting to hang out of those self-same undies.

And away we went!

We talked about our lives, what she had been doing since our time in Paris, what I was doing with the money I garnered when I won the Nobel Peace Prize, just those sorts of insignificant things from our past.

When we were done with the small talk, I asked her if she remembered me and she said she did and I said, no, you just read my chart, and she said, yes I did, but that brought you to mind and I did remember, and then she recited the events of our previous episode, so I pretended that she really remembered me because it made me feel significant, even more so than when I won that Nobel Peace Prize, which I didn’t really win in case someone wants to sue me for writing a blatantly false memoir, and then she got to work.

She rubbed the gel, a warm gel, along my leg, and I will not bother to describe it to you except to say that you would not mind the sensation at all.

I honestly asked her, with a preface that this was a sort of professional question, if she ever got anyone who was eroticized by this experience (luckily I was not, because there was absolutely no way to stop it under the circumstances), and she said, yeah, a few times, and I quickly rejoined, I’m not hitting on you, just asking questions! (and that is the beauty of saying you are writing a book: you can ask nearly anything).

And she said, yeah, now and then someone gets fresh with me (and I wanted to say, that is not exactly what I meant: what do you do when the rocket is preparing to launch, so to speak, but I didn’t) and I asked her what she did then, did she slap ’em or rebuke ’em or leave and she said, no, I try, as politely as possible, to shut them down.

I think she was, as politely as possible, shutting me down.

But I just wanted to know! Inquiring minds want to know!

So, they take this gel and put it on this little roll-on ball, and they run it from your ankle to your crotch. That is what they do. Even if you are a born-again Christian who doesn’t want to see the word crotch, I have to tell you, that is what they do, and there is no getting around it. It is not uncomfortable, but it is not so erotic either. Although it probably should be, erotic I mean.

She did both legs. No clots in the right leg (it was a minimal situation to begin with, but still, good news). Reduction, vast improvement, in left leg, with mostly just remnants of the original, but nothing below knee any more. I will probably have to stay on the Coumadin for a while, to take care of that last little bit, but things are looking good.

The alternative, down the road, would be to do minor surgery (unless it is me or you, of course, in which case it becomes major by default) to put a filter in femoral vein. Or two. That doesn’t sound pleasant to me, and I would like to avoid the hospital anyway, particularly the OR.

She is not supposed to tell me this, or so I gather. But she has done so both times, with the caveat that the radiologist will make the final analysis. I think she knows her stuff, frankly.

This is good news.

She slowly begins to…oh, wait, different site!

She slaps the sheet back on me and says I can get dressed and simply walk out of the building.

All of life should be so easy.

Oh, yeah, first the towel: I have to clean up after her.  Do not take that the wrong way.  I mean that I have to wipe up the gel, her gel, not mine, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

I’m on my way!

CTScan next month, early, and if that is good, I am good.

Life is good. I hope you can say the same.

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