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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

In the Style of Charles Bukowski

There is a polyp in my gall bladder.

The NHS found it while I was having an ultrasound scan at our local hospital in 2008. However, the operator wasn't allowed to tell me the results there and then. Instead they were posted to my GP, which meant another appointment. I didn't even know what the gall bladder was except that it sounded mediaeval, like my humours were out of balance, or something. But with the web at my disposal I quickly boned up on the subject, and learned that theses polyps were quite common, and are usually left alone unless they grow to more then 10mm across, after which they could turn nasty.

My GP told me it was 4cm across. Almost at once I was sure I could feel it in there, growing. I even got an occasional twinge from it. The doctor and I both managed to act unconcerned, and it was decided I would go back for a second scan a few weeks later to have it measured again. If it was growing, I was in trouble. If it wasn't, maybe it was just a gallstone. These aren't fun normally, but it would definitely have got a laugh out of me.

The polyp was measured the second time at 4mm.

"4mm!" I exclaimed, "but my GP was told it was 4cm."

"Yes, it says 4cm on the card, but it's actually 4mm."

I was so relieved I even forgot to inquire about which idiot had written down a simple measurement incorrectly, multiplying my polyp's size at a stroke by a factor of 1000.

Nothing has been done about my polyp since, and I have never again felt it twinge. (Later I found that the area the twinge was coming from isn't even where the gall bladder lives.)

The reason I'm writing about this is that I'd completely forgotten about it until a few days ago. Which is strange, seeing as I how for a few weeks I seriously thought I might have a tumour.

I was reading The Last Night of the Earth Poems by Charles Bukowski when I suddenly remembered the polyp.

if I was
I would have written
all this in
short staccato verses
started each paragraph
in lower case

would that make it

Anyway, it makes me wonder, if I could forget something as significant (as I thought then) as that polyp, what other incidents might have slipped out of my memory.

Some people have started recording their whole lives electronically. That would solve the problem of forgetting, only to replace it with the problem of finding time to play your life back again and again to keep it fresh in your memory. Sadly, a lot of it wasn't too interesting the first time through.