Thursday, January 26, 2017

Gross Room


I was called at about 11:30 a.m. "It's a peritoneal biopsy. Dr. Surgeon. She's got a history of cancer - had most of her bowel removed. I guess they are looking for more."

"Ok I'll come over." I walked to the gross room from my office.

"Here, the slide is already done."

"What type of cancer?"

"Not sure I'll look it up for you."

I look at the slide. Macrophages, no cancer. Unless - signet ring cell can masquerade as macrophages.

"Did you find a cancer type?"

"Mucinous adenocarcinoma."

Good. This isn't that. I called the surgeon on the bat phone. "No cancer. Looks like treatment related changes. Macrophages gather in infection, but based on the history, I favor the former. You can culture it of you like."

J: "We've got another frozen. Gyn/onc."

I walked over to look at the uterus.

"He already opened it."

"It looks benign. Easy case. I'll just hang out while you freeze it. Looks like you had fun in Nashville last weekend, J!"

I'd seen a pic of her and her four girlfriends standing on the bar at Coyote Ugly on Facebook.

"Ugh, too much fun. I'm having my New Year's resolution late. Calming down for a bit. It was really fun. We were in this one bar, and there was a girl perched up on a stool - she was overlooking the whole bar and just strumming her guitar and singing. It was so cool."

"That reminds me of the time I went to New Orleans for New Year's Eve. With a bunch of high school friends, but we were already in college. They were all 21, but I was still 19. Luckily the drinking age in NOLA at the time was 18. The streets were so crowded we had to hold hands moving from bar to bar, to avoid getting lost in the sea of people. We girls, about half of our crowd, decided to go to a strip bar. We had never been, and it took us some time to find a male strip bar. When we walked in, there were girls perched on platforms hung by chains over the bar. They were very scantily clad - tassels and thongs. We were shocked, but marched on through to the back of the bar where stripping men were promised. It was just one guy - he was in a snakeskin bikini - is that what you call it on men? I've no idea. Haven't been to a strip bar before or since. Except this one, but I'll tell you about that later. Anyway, he was skinny as shit. No muscles at all. Just dancing to this lame music, it was pathetic. We sat down and ordered a pitcher of beer just to see if anything better happened. It didn't."

"Was there anyone else in there?"

"No, well, maybe four or five people. Most of the tables were empty. Finally we decided to get out of there but took a group trip to the bathroom first. Oh. My slide is ready. I'll tell you the rest later."

Bat phone to gyn/onc OR. "Benign endometrial polyp."

J: "There is another frozen. Another peritoneal biopsy from that cancer case."

"I guess they want to hold me hostage until noon. Ok. So anyway, we went to the bathroom. There was this woman in there, super pudgy, she was bawling. Like the happy well adjusted empathic college kids we were, we surrounded her and hugged her. Asked her what was wrong. She told us that her husband was stripping out there, to make money. She hated that other women were ogling him. She was miserable that he had to do that for her and the baby. We were taken aback, but assured her that we were leaving the bar - we assured her emphatically and truthfully that we would not be ogling her husband - and told her that everything would be ok."

"That's crazy."

"I know right? It was like Jack Sprat the stripper on stage and his wife dejected in the bathroom. Put a damper on the college kids seeking the stripper experience. One good thing, though - my friend brought one of her college friends. She was blond, and resembled me a little. She had two driver's licenses for some reason, one was lost then found. So she gave me her ID to use as a fake - I had fake's all through college since I didn't turn 21 until after I graduated and this one lasted the longest. It was from Oklahoma. Her name was Cindy Cox - sounded like a stripper name to me. I was her for over a year in Arkansas, until I got lulled into complacency and one night a smart bouncer at Juanita's caught me tipsy and daydreaming and tripped me up on the address I had memorized by heart. He also looked into my eyes. Realized that mine were blue, and hers were green. No other bouncer ever bothered to check that. He confiscated that ID, and left me scrambling. Is that other slide ready?"

"Here it is."

I put it under the scope. Called the OR. "Recurrent metastatic mucinous adenocarcinoma."

Dr. Surgeon: "Really? Ok, thanks."

I walked back into the gross room from the scope room.

"Thanks for all your help guys. I'm going to get some soup."




This album was a fave of mine in high school. I wore it out. Was fascinated how it could run from synth pop to arresting ballads to creepy chants that when learned could transform into a droning lullaby; a backdrop to the drudgery of life. I never knew anyone else who listened to Yaz, until I read Rob Sheffield's Love is a Mix Tape about 7 years ago. It's a memoir about his first wife who died prematurely. I think they enjoyed this album as much as I did. And they were way more creative with Zima, I was super jealous.

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