I’m not as big a fan of Harry Potter books as my grandchildren, but I do know that Harry was orphaned and relegated to sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs. After his parents were murdered, Harry’s mother’s sister grudgingly agreed to raise her nephew. While Harry had a place to live with his aunt and uncle, he was never accepted as a full-fledged member of the family.
And why am I telling that story? The week after returning from seeing family in Colorado was full of medical adventures, appointments, and procedures. One of my payback clinical visits was with Palliative Care. As directed, we looked for the clinic on the fourth floor of Walter Reed’s America building. When we arrived, it seemed like a space dedicated to pediatrics. Seeing no signs for palliative care, I asked and was directed to a wooden bi-fold door in the waiting area. A handwritten sign said, “Knock.” Voilà — the door opened. Was it a portal into a magical realm? No, just a cubbyhole, a closet repurposed to serve as a receptionist’s office. Darn — I was hoping for a threshold to Hogwarts or Narnia. In fact, there was a magical theme going on. Outside the doctor’s office was a mural of Harry Potter with his wand. The image was a nice reminder — We can all use some enchantment, even if it’s of the medical variety. While I might prefer magic over medical, I’m inclined to follow science as I deal with my illness. But the idea of hidden magic is appealing (unlike craziness: see JFK Jr.’s return from the dead).
Help me to discern reality versus fantasy:
» Rational: Hardware in my back that stabilized injuries from a parachute accident decades ago is now a barrier to abdominal imaging — the area currently under investigation. As I watched the doctor scroll through my scans, it didn’t take a radiologist to see the shiny area running up my spine. The problem is that the light and shadows muddle the picture, making it hard to determine whether the tumor has spread, and if so, how much. As one radiologist reported: “The lesion at the pancreatic head is nearly impossible to discern due to metallic streak artifact from the spinal fusion hardware at this level.”
» Fanciful: How exciting — I have an embedded lightsaber! Is it a force for good or evil? Too bad I don’t have control over turning off the light when needed.
» Rational: The small, implanted medi-port serves a medical purpose, allowing the injection of chemotherapy medications directly to a vein.
» Fanciful: A tool for communicating with the mothership! Be aware – some people mistakenly believe that the COVID vaccine comes with a nanobot injection. Not so, current technology means it will take more than a needle. Sedation, surgery, and scans help to place the port (or nanobot). It will leave a distinctive and painful lump behind.
» Rational: Sorry can’t help. There’s no magic wand that will cure cancer. Although surgeons may consider a scapel to be a magical tool.
» Fanciful: Point your wand and say: “Hocus pocus.” [A phrase is believed to be a perversion of the Catholic Mass Latin blessing: “Hoc est corpus meum,” or “This is my body.”] The magic wand will fix everything.
Spells and incantations: Some people use sacraments and prayers; Harry Potter and his crew used wands and spells. Here are the spells I fantasize about using:
» Impervius – Protects a person from substances (including tumors and covid virus)
» Reparo – Repairs broken objects (this minimally invasive procedure is a big improvement over surgery)
» Reducio – Shrinks objects (including lesions, thereby eliminating the need for chemo)
As we left palliative care, we noticed that the pediatric patients got stickers. I was feeling slighted until I got a happy meal prize too — Narcan (antidote in case of overdose) with my prescriptions. Note to the universe: In my make-believe world, I’d like a Nimbus flying broom for dealing with DC traffic, being able to get chemo virtually, outsourcing any symptoms, and pretending this is someone else’s story.
© Joan S Grey, 4 Nov 2021 ∞
IndexCardCure™: Live as though everything is a miracle…