Saturday, November 1, 2014

Roller Coaster

It is not just gimps who have found ourselves, at times, firmly in the grip of the medical establishment. As much research as we might do, we eventually have to put ourselves in the hands of a trusted team of professionals, and follow an established or experimental treatment protocol.

The following story is a mash-up of excursions into the medical establishment, but all based on a real incident on a real roller coaster.

A very short story. Enjoy.

Roller Coaster
Aaron Cohen 11-1-14

Clackety clackety clackety . . .

The roller coaster car grabs the chain and starts the long climb to the apex of the twisting track that will yield two minutes of terror-laced thrill on our tortured route back to the starting point. We are committed now. No escape until the car brakes to a stop.

Clackety clackety clackety . . .

The echoes of that long-ago ride bounce off the insides of my skull. I’m sitting on the table. The doctor has just left the examining room, and invited me to get dressed. Everything has been explained. Tomorrow’s procedure. The treatments over the next few months. The ancillary and follow-up therapies. The side effects. The odds (or potential outcomes based on others’ experiences). The progress checkpoints and tests along the way.

Clackety clackety clackety . . .

This is no thrill ride, nor will it be over in two minutes, but the path is set and the car is proceeding inexorably up the highly superior US medical infrastructure.

Many years ago, when the children were quite small, we took a short vacation trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Busch Gardens.  My wife does not like roller coasters, and the children were too small, but they indulged my need to ride the big coaster at Busch Gardens. It was beautiful. The first drop was a steep dive right over the water of the lake. I waited in line for more than 20 minutes, and as luck would have it ended up in the front seat of the car. My seatmate was a pretty young woman several years my junior who seemed to be there with a group of friends.

Clackety clackety clackety

As we approached the release point high over the lake she turned to me and said, “It really helps if you scream.”

She was right!