There Is That
I drove down to Stanford hospital this morning thinking, well, I need to be there at nine so I'd better leave at seven instead of eight (assuming the traffic would be terrible and it could take twice the usual time), so I left at seven and there was no traffic and I arrived at eight. So I had a nice breakfast in the hospital cafeteria and sat outside the front door of the hospital looking at the pools and the fountains and thinking, well, so far, so good.
This was my follow up with the surgeon who did the hernia operation and we were going to go over the results of the recent upper and lower colonoscopy which had been nicely negative except for the hiatal hernia, which I've known about for twenty years. Well, he couldn't really see any reason to operate. Better to get it fixed now, of course, rather than when I was 85 and less able to take the knife (hiatal hernias don't get better over time) but he'd come to the conclusion with experience it was better to avoid surgery if you weren't experiencing any of the symptoms.
"Ah, yes: the symptoms. And what again were the symptoms?"
"Acid reflux" (heartburn), he said.
"OK, I haven't had heartburn for years."
"Anemia", he said.
"OK, I haven't been anemic for years."
"And chest pain", he said.
"Oh. What kind of chest pain, exactly? What does it feel like?"
"Some people think they're having a heart attack and rush to an emergency room believing they're going to die", he said.
"Like the really sore chest I've been experiencing on and off for the last two years", I asked?
"Exactly like the symptoms you describe."
"Oh", I said rethinking this surgery business. "I'll call you when I get back from vacation at the end of the month."
So, if the sore chest comes back I'm going to get the hiatal hernia fixed. Two hours on the table, two days in the hospital, ten days taking it easy before returning to work. Weird. Why do they diagnose these things so easily in Palo Alto and have so much trouble here in Oakland?
For the reason you began going to Stanford in the first place.
Ah, yes. There is that.