I have made it thus far in my life without ever considering my thyroid gland. It’s not that I was uncaring towards it, I just figured it would do its job, whatever that is, and I would do mine and we would do just fine. So when I was at the doctor’s the a couple of weeks ago getting a general checkup and she said, “I think there’s a bump here; you should go see this endocrinologist I know,” I thought, “Cool, I’ve never been to an endocrinologist before. I wonder what that’s like?”
It turns out it’s like going to the doctor’s, only you don’t have to get undressed and the goop they put on the ultrasound reader is uncomfortably cold. So it wasn’t that bad, but the upshot was that I have a nodule in my thyroid gland, about four centimeters by two by two. Which apparently isn’t that uncommon, though I’m kind of surprised I never realized it was there. I mean, that’s about as big as an ermine skull. You’d think I’d notice an extra ermine skull.
Anyway, the doctor assured me that this item was probably benign, but since “probably” isn’t one of those words that is sufficient in this situation I had to get it biopsied. (Which spellcheck doesn’t seem to think is a word, but whatever.) Which is why, at ten o’clock this morning, I was wandering around Washington Hospital in Fremont, wondering were I was supposed to be going for this and why a hospital would have spots for valet parking. (Do they have uniforms? How much do you tip?) Things got easier when I figured out I was in the wrong building and I ended up being no more than moderately late, which is pretty good for me.
Post-paperwork, I was fetched by a nurse with a pronounced New Yawk accent who gave me a clever but confusing three-sleeved wrap top to change into, arranged me on a gurney and marked out the offending area with a blue Sharpie while we waited for the doctor. And waited. And waited some more, because doctors are busy. It was okay though, I got a chance to catch up on my sleep.
He did show up, of course, and seemed very pleasant, even if the first thing he did was to inject a shot of local anaesthesia by sticking a needle about a foot into my neck and leaving it there for about half an hour. (Estimations based on unpleasantness of experience and not necessarily accurate measurements.) Then he did the biopsy, which felt a lot like if someone were to numb your neck, then repeatedly root around in your thyroid gland with a sharp object.
Eventually it did end, and the pathologist decided she had enough material to work with and I was free to go, the little cluster of puncture marks on my neck making me look like I have been attacked by a tiny, inept vampire. And attempted to ward it off by drawing a cross with a Sharpie. (I feel like there might be a story in there. Not sure if it’s any good.)
Then, since it was well into the morning and I hadn’t been allowed to eat anything beforehand, I went and got myself a smoothie, which was delicious.