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San Francisco Journalcon photos
Lake Merrit, Oakland

October 24th, 2002

Five - Jive
I had the first unit of blood drawn this afternoon. Another fellow was sitting in the anteroom where they sit you down after you've finished to drink liquids, eat crackers and not fall down on your face from, one assumes, lack of blood. I asked him why he was banking blood. Prostate. Much younger than I with an eight year old daughter, a techie - networks and firewalls - his PSA count going up over the last year parallel to mine, except he'd been laid off a year ago and has had insurance coverage under COBRA. Out of work, PSA counts rising, counting down on his eighteen month COBRA extension, family to support, what does he do if they don't find it before the insurance is gone? Scary. It's all scary.

He's been doing his homework, however, and mentioned the operation he'd elected, a Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, was being done in San Ramon two days after mine. San Ramon is evidently an early adopter of Laparoscopy, a technique using computerized robot arms and tiny little tv cameras. Less invasive, less painful, quicker healing by a factor of four. And, um, more expensive and complicated and new. No need, though, to open you up wide enough for the surgeon to get his hands inside. My second afternoon appointment was with my Oakland urologist to tell him I'd decided to have the operation done at Stanford. You remember, the appointment I talked about showing up for at his office on Tuesday? You know, two days early?

We talked. I mentioned hearing about Laparoscopy and he said yes, there were two doctors in his group who performed them here in Oakland. His feeling was this kind of surgery was the future. Would I like to meet one of the doctors on Monday to discuss it? Why, yes. I would.

My first impression was I'm a damned fool not to have done more homework, but then again I still have time to check it out, and, so, why not? Do I want to jump on a whim, a chance meeting? Probably not, but I need to face things more squarely and be able to say, yes, I know this thing, here's the plus and here's the minus and I've gone with one based on something more than two recommendations, a news story or two, my experience with Stanford and a gut feeling. Did I mention tossing the coin? Heads or tails, one toss or three out of five - jive?

The photograph was taken along Lake Merritt in Oakland.