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Drive-thru Surgery

July 20, 2011

*** warning blood and guts: viewer discretion advised***

Yesterday I had a great day.  Nothing was on my mind except for preparing to teach in upcoming seminars.  I prepared covers for two books to be printed, checked the layout other teaching materials and made a final run through on my lesson for the following day.  In the afternoon I tried to call my wife (I think at least 20 times).  I think all husbands know that buying a cell phone for your wife is almost a pointless exercise.  They never answer it.  It gets dropped somewhere in a bottomless purse and only comes out when they need you!  Anyway, my wife finally got a hold of me (i.e. she needed my help) and asked me to help her over at a friend’s house.  I finished up helping her about 7pm.  As I was helping her, she noticed a bump on my back.  She said, “That bump keeps getting bigger, why don’t you have the doctor check it out.”  Since it is on my back and can’t see it or feel it, I don’t really care about it.  But, I knew it had been there for about 15 years, so I wasn’t too happy that it kept growing either.

Well, for me, no time is like the present.  On our way home I told my wife.  Since we are going near to Dr. Modick’s house, maybe I’ll stop by and see if he can have a quick look at the bump.  I pulled in on my motorcycle to the doctor’s house/clinic and could see Dr. Modick talking to a patient inside.  I slipped in and sat in the waiting area.  Within a minute, Dr. Modick came and greeted me.  He is a long-time friend, so we are very friendly with each other.   I only like doctors that I know well, so for me having a friend as a doctor not only helpful, but essential.  I trust my friends.

Since everyone at the clinic knows me, there is no reason to sign in.  I just walk right in.  I tell Dr. Modick that my wife wants him to look at a bump on my back.  (I conveniently blamed my wife, so I wouldn’t look like a sissy going to the doctor. )  He took a quick look and told me what it was.  I think he said something like a “watch-a-ma-call-it”.  Then he said, “Do you want to take it out?”

“Sure”, I said and continued, “Can you do it now?”

“No problem”, replied the doctor.

Now let me explain a little bit about this casual surgical conversation.  I am not nervous around surgeons at all.  Let me tell you why.  I have another friend named Dr. Nastu Sharma from Nepal.  Dr. Sharma is the king of field doctors (in my opinion).  He can do anything surgically, at anytime, in any location.  For Dr. Sharma there is no need for sterile conditions or other bells and whistles.  My first time with Dr. Sharma he performed a simple surgery on my friend.  It was to be the removal of a small cyst which had been on my friend’s neck since birth.  My friend insisted I stay with him and hold his hand the whole time, and Dr. Sharma needed someone who could hold a flashlight, so got my first temp job as a surgical assistant.  I even got to wear those cool (and hot) rubber gloves!  I snapped them on like a real doctor too!  The surgery was being performed in a remote jungle church on their altar table with no electricity, a few dogs running around, and about fifty children looking on. Anyway, that small cyst. . . well. . . 40 years is a long time to grow.  The small cyst turned out to be a tumor which stretched from his jawbone to his heart buried deep in his neck.  It was mostly liquid and all of it had to be removed or it would just grow back even quicker.  It was disgusting and vile to watch it, but in the end, it cured me (mostly) of fearing surgeons and surgery.  Before Dr. Sharma sewed it up, he let me look through the hole in his neck.  The cavity where the tumor came out was so big, you could see all the way to his beating heart! :) So much for simple surgeries.

So, when considering removing a little cyst on a whim during a late evening chat with a doctor, it didn’t bother me a bit to quickly agree.  Within five minutes I had my shirt off and I was on the operating table.  I knew what to expect.  I knew what local anesthetics he was using and how they would feel.  I only wished I could see it!  Dr. Modick almost knew what I was thinking.  He asked me if I wanted to take a picture.  Of course I did!! How cool is that.  So I whipped my iphone out of my pocket and started to uncomfortably snap away so I could see the hole in my back!  The assistant (not quite sterile) also took some shots for me.  See:

Dr. Modick concentrating; me, not so much!

The small “watch-a-ma-call-it” after it was dug out of my back

The wound. I can’t wait to tell my war story!

By 8pm, only about 45 minutes after going to the doctor. I was stitched up, back on my motorcycle and driving home to surprise my wife!  Before my family had finished eating dinner I had a minor surgery!  I joked with her that this was one more thing I loved about Cambodia.  I love having a relationship with my doctor, just like my mechanic.  When my car has the littlest problem I immediately go to my mechanic to fix it, because I want to be sure my car is always in good working order.  My body too; I like to be in good working order.  Waiting 3 hours in a waiting room, for me, is a good reason to NOT visit a doctor itself.  Having a drive-thru doctor is very convenient and effective.  I feel like a well oiled machine.  In fact, it takes me longer to change the oil on my car then it did to have surgery.  I love Cambodia!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lyn permalink
    July 20, 2011 10:00 pm

    You’re a one and only!!!!!

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