Thursday, April 28, 2011

Compared to what?

A short time ago, I think it must have been February, I was having some issues with my throat. What the issues were is incidental to this little tale, so I will spare you the details of my malady, but it bothered me enough that it led to my first visit to the emergency room on my own behalf since I sliced a good part of my thumb nearly off in 1998.

The staff at the ER couldn't quite locate the problem and told me to go see a specialist. They ended the encounter with something along the lines of "You don't seem crazy..."

Last month, the issue had not resolved. Fearing that I was in the throes of stage 4 (on the scale of 1-3) malignant tracheal cancer or was soon to choke to death in my sleep, I decided I would go see an ENT. An ENT in this case is not the walking tree creature from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. An ENT is an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, specializing in the aforementioned portions of one's anatomy.

His examination primarily consisted of an aide coming in and spraying some nasty stuff in my nose that she said would open up my sinus passages so the scope could go in easier. I steeled myself and was ready to go, until she aimed for my right nostril. For some reason, I was ready for things in the left nostril, but not the right.

Then she spritzed in something else that she said would not taste delicious but it would numb things up so I didn't feel the scope. It did not and it did not and I did.

It is hard to describe a feeling you really have no reference for. I am sure I have had things shoved up my nose before ( I specifically recall a frito when I was 3 or 4), but it didn't feel anything like a hose being inserted in and dragged along your nasal passage. The whole thing didn't hurt, it just felt weird.

After he was done, the doctor said, "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

"Compared to what?", I asked.

I guess the experiences we go through help prepare us for worse ones and the experiences we have avoided, like shoving things up our nasal passage, could have been used to better prepare us to face future challenges. I guess.

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