© 2019 by Jason Elbinger

  All Rights Reserved


A Roiling Boil

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

I had the port installed today.

Normally they sedate someone for this procedure, but not me because I did not fast. Some numbskull never told me to.

I waited in the pre-op area, in a gown and on a bed, for about two hours before they were ready for me, which was two hours later than my appointment. My phone was a plastic bag along with my clothes under the bed, so I entertained myself by eavesdropping on the conversation between a cardiologist, a patient, and his wife through the curtain that separated us.

The man was a retired police officer. He noticed a bump on his leg after he went golfing a few days ago and thought it was a spider bite, so he ignored it. After a few days, the bump became a boil, and now that boil was a large infected mass on his leg.

I wish I could have seen it.

Maybe it looked like this?

When he was a cop, he used to get boils all the time, his wife explained, mostly on his waist, which would get sweaty from carrying his gun belt. Friction, heat, and moisture caused them, and she would just lance them, squeeze out the puss, and then dress the wound. However, this boil on his leg was like nothing she had seen before.

The man had told her he’d be okay and made plans to golf again next week.

But as the day wore on, he started feeling sick. She drove him to urgent care, and when a doctor checked his blood pressure, they rushed him to the hospital because the systolic reading was 195. I forgot what the diastolic was.

He gets to the hospital, and they don’t think it's the boil that is causing his blood pressure to be so elevated, so they admit him and run a bunch of tests. Turns out he needs heart surgery.

The doctor explains that if he finds a blockage when he performs surgery, he would insert a thin balloon into a small catheter at the end of which was a sharp needle. The catheter would poke through the blockage, and then he’d inflate the balloon, thus destroying the blockage. However, just like rocks would block up a cave during a cave-in, the matter that formed the blockage would still be there after the balloon destroyed it. So, he’d leave a mesh stent in place to keep the blood vessel open.

The wife told the doctor she’d been telling her husband to lose weight for years, and that she prayed this was his wake up call.

But the boil…

Whatever was infecting his boil was found in his blood, so his heart would have to wait until Monday. The boil had to go.

Gosh, I wish I could see that surgery.

Then my doctor finally shows up. He tells me its no problem doing the port placement under local anesthesia. Usually they sedate patients to avoid anxiety. I told him I’d just mediate, but it would be great if he had a bullet I could bite on.

I was awake for the whole thing. The procedure went perfectly, and now I’m ready for chemo!

At first I thought it was an x-ray of an appendage.