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From the Mouth of the River

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When cancer means a new Mercedes

When I walked into my doctor’s office I found him sitting behind his desk, hands folded on the latest issue of Motor Trend Magazine.  “I have some good news and some bad news,” he said. “What do you want to hear first?”

“Let’s start with the bad news,” I answered, “that way the good news can cushion the fall.”

“Okay,” he said. “You have cancer; colon cancer.”

“Well for Pete’s sake, give me the good news quick!” I replied.

He held up the magazine. “I can get the Mercedes I always wanted if we operate right away.” I could tell he was trying to hide his concern for my feelings.

“You mean it’s operable?” I asked.

“Yes, and I can even get the color I want,” he answered.

“Wait a minute. Are you sure about this?” I questioned.

“Yes, the sale lasts ‘til the end of the month,” he replied.

“No, not the car,” I said, and wondered why I hadn’t bought stock in those luxury car companies in my youth. “I mean the cancer, are you sure about that?”

“Oh yes,” he said. “You have cancer in your colon. Look, I even took pictures of the exam.”

“That’s disgusting!” I held the picture at arm’s length.

“Put your glasses on and put down that picture of my family!” the doctor shouted. “Here, these are the pictures of your cancer.”

Holy cow. I’m an artist, and even I didn’t know it was possible to mix all those colors. Red, green, yellow, orange, even black. And look at this one! It looks like the sun down in the Grand Canyon! And here’s one that would make a great Christmas card, it’s so colorful.

“That’s your cancer,” my doctor announced. “We operate on Thursday. I’ll set it all up. You go over to the hospital for your pre-op, and I’ll call the dealership.”

I wouldn’t say cancer is a common thing, but everyone over 40 is looking over their shoulder for it, and most seem to have it in some form or another before they die. We here in America have spent more money on cancer research than we have on the space program. As children, we brought home those March of Dimes cards to be filled in by all our relatives. Only a dime a piece and there’s ten spaces on the card. Let’s see… that comes to one dollar times a gazillion kids across America, times 70 years. That’s one hell of a lot of money! Now all those kids are grown up and holding fundraisers for big bucks and the money goes to…

Big business, because cancer research is big business. Block grants go to any researcher willing to fill out the paperwork, mainly pharmaceutical corporations. Now that they have been able to connect obesity to cancer, they can use that money to study obesity. Up until it was called a disease, they just considered us fat folks. Now you can’t make fun of ‘em anymore. I have a 350-pound disease called obesity!

There are more people today living with cancer than there are dying from it. A little over two years ago, a team of cancer surgeons in Spokane gave me six months to live. They said I had cancer of the pancreas. However, when they got through with their operation, they discovered it was massive scar tissue from a previous operation. They removed part of my pancreas and intestine. 

They also performed a wipple on my small intestine. In layman’s terms, they tied little animal figures with it, like a clown with a balloon. I think there’s a goat in there. I don’t know what the purpose of that was, but it gave me gas that would peel wallpaper. My own dogs would get up and leave the room, and sometimes at night I would find the cat was trying to cover me up.

This last operation cleared all that up and I now have a clean bill of health. I met with my doctor to go over the results and he said he thinks they got it all—at least for now.  Then he said something that really scared me. “Hey, take a look at this new fishing boat I found,” he said. “By the way, how’s your prostate?”

PS– I would like to personally thank all the people on the Bonner General surgical staff and all the nurses and other staff who made my stay comfortable and successful. And by the way, no one told me that gown was supposed to be tied in the back… maybe that explains all the laughter!

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Author info

Boots Reynolds Boots Reynolds The "internationally-renowned cowboy artist" Boots Reynolds has moved his comedic interpretation of life into the writing field with his regular column in the River Journal - From the Mouth of the River.

Tagged as:

health, humor, cancer, colon cancer, doctors, Bonner General Hospital

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