Dr. Cherry and I are back from our most excellent adventure to New Orleans. Two nights and three days with this man have only given me more stories I will never be able to tell. He is, as they say in Valdosta, a hoot. Here’s a photo of the peaceful city just before we arrived:
As you can see, it all started out so good – great hotel, great food, lots of laughing and fun. But then, well, things are still kind of fuzzy to me, but I vaguely remember getting lost walking to the hospital (Comer got me started in the wrong direction and then left me when he stopped for coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde), hitching a ride with a “security guard,” him “running out of gas,” and something involving a pistol and him wanting my cash/credit card for “gas.” I kid you not. I ended up jumping out and walking the rest of the way rapidly, while praying fervently.
Comer? Well, you have to remember I was in the care of Tulane Medical Center all day on Wednesday. No time to babysit. He was there as I was leaving, though, because I remember the Clinical Research Coordinator saying, “I like you a lot, Ed.” Then, pointing to Comer, saying, “Him, not so much.” Yes, this is an exact quote.
Well, I think this hurt Comer’s feelings terribly because I found him the next morning on Bourbon Street, looking somewhat the worse for wear. Who knew he was so sensitive!
Concerned, I asked the police for the security camera videotapes, trying to discover how the good doctor could have gone south so quickly. All we found was this one photo of Comer at the height of his debauchery. It is all so very sad.
Speaking of sad, let me backfill Wednesday at the medical center for you. The morning was filled with three CT-scans, a nuclear bone scan and an x-ray of my neck. Apparently, I have the beginnings of arthritis. Do I have to suffer the ravages of old age, also? Oh, I also had an IV inserted, drank two “milkshakes” and payed more money for this fun than the guy with the gun could have ever hoped to have gotten out of me.
The afternoon was full steam ahead with getting me signed up for the trial. Patrick, the Clinical Research Coordinator and bright, young, and up and coming rock star, began by reading me 24 pages of, “Do you know how crazy you are for wanting to do this?” paperwork. Out loud. Word for word. A requirement. We both fell asleep. Several times. Plus, I had to initial every page.
Then Dr. Oliver Sartor, an amazing physician and world-renown prostate cancer guru (who gave me his cell phone number and booked dinner reservations for us – take a hint, those of you who are physicians reading this blog!) came in with my scan results. Great news – no cancer in my lymph nodes or in any of my visceral organs! Bones, not so good, but we knew that.
After a physical exam (you know the drill), an hour of medical history questions (“You were electrocuted? I’m not even going to write that down.”) and going through all my medications like the TSA would go through your luggage, Dr. Sartor and I then both signed the trial consent forms. I was an excellent candidate, he said, and would be the first man in the United States in the trial. It was a done deal, as they say in Valdosta.
And then it happened. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, they remembered that no lab work had been done on me. A nurse was quickly dispatched with a long needle. Off to the lab my blood went. A formality, I thought. Only – it wasn’t. My PSA was up to 11 and my Alkaline Phosphatase was up to 100. Not good, but that’s what the Xofigo was for. But then there were the platelets. You remember the little guys, don’t you?
Well, apparently they were feeling shy that day because for all the tea in China they had dropped to 119,000. If you recall, I needed 150,000 of these guys for admission to the trial. They had been at 162,000. No one could explain what had happened. I asked them to run the test again with Comer out of the room, preferably out of the state. But it was closing time.
I didn’t get in, folks. And, no, according to the protocol, I can’t reapply. So here it is Good Friday, and everything looks bleak. New Orleans was a bust. But still. It’s Good Friday. The darkest day of the year, but also the day in which God did his greatest work for us. Are you surprised then that in the ashes of all of this, there is yet a glimmer of hope?
Blessed Easter – and please don’t stop praying,