Thursday, June 21, 2012

Total Eclipse of the Heart

                  The year 1986 brought about some of the most significant contributions to the world. The two most relevant of these are of course Janet Jackson's "Control" album and the birth of a bi-racial Canadian known as Brown and Thin. Shortly after I was evacuated from my Mother's vagina it was discovered that I had a very serious yet incredibly treatable heart condition referred to as a coaractation of the aorta wherein the body is not able to provide sufficient bloody supply on account of a narrowing of the aortic valve (the largest artery in the human body). In order to correct this deformity, the Canadian doctors kidnapped me, broke my ribcage open and inserted a stent (an artificial tube) to allow the blood to flow properly to the rest of my talented body. My Mother, of course dreadfully concerned and overwhelmed, was relieved by the fact that this condition is seldomly detected at birth and when found this early is easily fixed. I spent a day or two in an incubator before reuniting with my Mother. In hindsight I probably needed the break; living inside of a White person isn't easy. Princess Toadstool (my Mother) and I grew fond of each other rather quickly and returned home shortly where I found out I had an older sister named Barbie. We lived happily ever after as the rainbow coalition of crazy. I assumed at the time that I would be through with hospitals and incubators. Unfortunately later in life I would proven wrong unbeknownst to me.

                  The year 2000 was a very tumultuous year filled with unpredictable and life changing world events. Geri Haliwell had left the Spice Girls only a few months prior which left me very fragile. This was no time for any human being to be bogged down with any person struggles (medical or otherwise). Sadly, around this tragic time was when I was more than overdue to visit BC Children's Hospital for a checkup on my cardiac disposition. I don't remember much of my hospital visits. I was twelve years old at the time and probably drunk as a skunk. Not to mention I was still grieving for the loss of Ginger Spice. However, there are a few poignant, sporadic moments that appear vividly in my mind. I remember running on a treadmill with cords attached to my entire body. I remember getting off the treadmill and being applauded by the physician saying I was in excellent health. When she tested my heart rate she said, "You people are so hot! Your body temperatures are slightly above the rest in you Blacks." Of course I was nothing short of horrified. But as a good Canadian, I conducted myself only in polite dismissal. I was not even a teenager after all. On another occasion, I was in a small room with a male cardiologist taking some tests yet again. Barbie (my Sister), probably 16 years old at the time, was in the waiting room with Mom. "Was that your friend?", asked the Caucasian doctor with blond hair. "No, she's my Sister," I responded plainly. All Dr. Ken-Doll had to say for himself was "Nice mix!". I was appalled. 

               The rest of the testing is a complete blur to me. All I know is that the team of doctors had confirmed that there was a problem with my aortic valve not distributing blood to my lower extremities and that they needed to operate. They determined that they needed to perform an angioplasty. This is where they put a patient to sleep and then insert a wire into his or her crotch area that navigates all the way up to the closed valve that is opened by a tiny collapsed balloon attached to the end of the wire which is inflated upon arrival. When I was informed of this I was of course absolutely thrilled only for the fact that I did not have to attend physical education class for an entire year in which I was required to romp around with smelly degenerates of the same gender as I. 

             The day of the procedure I remember I wasn't aloud to consume any solid foods which of course did wonders for my waist line. The countless proposed moratoriums on solid consumptions I have been issued over the years by doctors are the reason why I can now call myself Brown and Thin. I was surprisingly calm throughout the entire preparation. I went in the morning with Princess Toadstool. The doctors attached a cooling agent to my forearm which sat for about a half an hour before they injected me with an intravenous. It had been explained to me prior that I would be put to sleep for a few hours on an operating table. What had not been explained to me was that there was a mandatory and fiercely enforced removal of any and all undergarments. What I realized is that these doctors are very sneaky. It was only at the last moment when I had already removed all other forms of clothing and was only wearing the hideous backless blue hospital gown, my underwear, and perhaps what was left of my dignity when one of the nurses instructed me to drop trou. In fact, I'm pretty sure I already had the gas mask on and the anesthesiologist was already in the room. I was completely defenseless! I imagined a date with R.Kelly would begin in the same manner. The drug dealer (ie. anesthesiologist) instructed me to count down from one hundred. I remember making to ninety nine and a half before passing out completely. The next memory was waking up next to a fry container; you know those little plastic dishes used to serve french fries in. Only after a few minutes of having some wherewithal did I discover that this tray was present for the purpose of providing a receptacle for my vomit; I learned this of course only on presumption, thank God I was right! Princess Toadstool of course was there in the room with me. "Where is my underwear!" was my first question. I did eventually find them. They most likely had Ninja turtles on them (Donitello was my favorite. I just love purple.). I'm not sure how much longer I stayed in the hospital but I can't imagine it was long because I specifically remember not pooping which was a strategic decision on my end. It was one thing to pee into the magical plastic personal bin complete with handle but it was quite another to defecate into any type of receptacle that another individual had to collect (whether they got paid for it or not). I ended up being released early, probably on good behaviour hoping to never return again.

             It would be another eight years before I would be royally screwed over by Jesus (I blame him for all of my medical problems). I was in the NYU hospital for a completely unrelated issue which was not Herpes, it was in fact a toe infection which turned deadly overnight. Interestingly enough I have recently been reading a book about health care and I have come to understand that in America much of the health costs are covered by private insurers (or not at all) which really inspires the competition aspect of this industry. I found this out the hard way when after being listed as "individually responsible" on the fact of me having no health insurance. Once it was discovered that I had a pre-existing medical condition, these skanks at the hospital ran me through every cardiac evaluation and test you could ever imagine. I had an MRI, an MRA, a Doppler reading, a cardiogram and was visited by, what seemed like, every cardiologist in the state while lying on my hospital bed. After several tests and evaluations they determined that I had "no aneurysms". My logical response was "Ummmmmmm I thought I was here for my foot.". When I received the bill at a later date which was to the tune of twenty thousand dollars, I understood why the endless amount of doctors were apparently so concerned about me. All I can say is thank God for Medicaid.

              Three months ago, I was walking the streets of Dallas (a pastime that is considered both elitist and unncessessary in the state of Texas) when I was startled by a very sharp pain piercing through the left side of my chest. I considered this pain to be very fluke and alarming for the fact that I had not recently undergone any type of singular breast augmentation. After the second or third time this happened on my course of walking only a few minutes on the same block, I came to the conclusion that I would need to seek medical attention. When I got to work I called up an organization that specializes in matching patients with different cardiologists around the city. The receptionist in charge of booking explained to me that I would have to wait  nearly two months to see a doctor; they were completely booked up. This by the way completely debunks the theory that a country with private health insurance gives patients a more immediate access to health care and services. I hung up the phone in complete disbelief. I considered going to emergency care the next day but as I started to feel better as the day went on, I thought it would be a waste of money considering the absurd costs of visiting an emergency room. Maybe I could just sleep off my cardiac impalement. I continually had ongoing chest pain for rhe remainder of the week causing me to pick up the phone again. I explained that I really needed to see someone. It was a fluke because there was only one opening the next week because of a last minute cancellation. I was booked!

                 I went to the hospital, signed in at the front desk, was greeted by a nurse within minutes who brought me into the doctor's office and instructed me to wait. A few minutes later in walked Pat Sajack's twin brother. He was very short (all people on television are) and attractive middle-aged man. "Young people never come see me. What are you doing here?" was his first statement. I thought to myself, "Oh great. I have a complete tool for a doctor." I explained to him my special issue and he immediately instructed me to remove my top and get on his table. I've had a few dates that have begun in the same manner. He attached several cords to my body that had what I will refer to as "suction nipples" on the end that stick to the patient's skin. He turned some machine on and watched some numbers click. I learned later that this was called a "cardiogram". After a few minutes he turned the machine off and began to remove the suction nipples. What I had forgotten from previous cardiograms I had received was the fact that with this test you get both a cardiac evaluation and a full wax of your entire torso for the price of one. I probably dimly remembered this fact from previous endeavours for the reason that during the first few times I experienced this I was a pre-teenager with less upper body hair than a Michael Jackson fantasy. Needless to say, I was taken a back by the abrupt nature of the removal of the sticky suction nipples while simultaneously feeling delighted by my newfound prepubescent trunk. My pectorals looked like the shiny hood of a brand new car by the time Dr. Sajack had finished removing the nipples of death. The doctor took my blood pressure and sent me on my way to another doctor to perform second test.

              I found myself in a new room which reminded me of the set from "To Catch a Predator". There was something about the vibe that just seemed a little predictable. Instead of feeling like I was in a doctor's office, I felt rather I was on a movie set that was created to look like a doctor's office. Amidst my daydreaming about NBC late night programming, in walked another "doctor" (I use this term loosely). He was wearing a jogging suit. I need to make it very clear that it was NOT casual Friday, nor was he an African-American celebrity. Those would have been the only two perfectly legitimate excuses for this ridiculous choice of work attire. Not to mention, this guy looked like Johnny Bravo. He was all pumped up with perfectlly straight teeth that were blindingly white, had dimples in his cheeks, and his chin looked like a Black woman's ass. You could have easily placed a teacup atop his gelled hair. Dr. Johnny Bravo introduced himself to me and again asked to remove my top and get on the table face down. In that moment I realized what Paris Hilton must have felt like in prison. What really creeped me out is when Dr. JB, without prior announcement, turned all the lights off. The illuminating screen of his computer was the only light source in the office at that point. I couldn't remember in that moment whether I had put in my diaphragm that morning or not. Dr. Johnny Bravo then pulled out what appeared to be a white dildo. He then grabbed a tube and squirted a liquid gel all over the tip. I clenched my asscheeks together more tightly than Miley Cyrus's vagina when in close proximity to her father.  I still had underwear on at this point so I assumed that any rape attempt would be unsuccessful. Dr. JB took the magic dildo wand and proceeded to shove into the side of my ribcage. "Hey asshole! Can you molest my torso a little bit more gently?" was my first thought. I decided to grin and bare it. If the Flava Flav contestants could put up with it, so could I. While raping me with one had, the doctor was incessantly clicking on his laptob with the other. I tried hard not to look, as images of my insides really gross me out (I found this out in a previous romantic relationship). At one point he turned on the volume so he could hear the heartbeat. I was amazed to discover that the beat of my heart sounds exactly like Pamela Anderson performing a blowjob. Obviously I take great pride and patriotism on account of Ms. Anderson being Canadian. At one point Dr. Johnny Bravo instructed me to turn on my side. He then removed a part of the bed I was laying on; it literally slid right out from beneath me in order for him to have the ability to rape my rib cage from underneath. I was thoroughly disgusted and impressed all at the same time. After being poked and prodded for what seemed like an eternity, I found myself glancing over at the doctor's desk. On it was another computer, his half eaten lunch from Subway and a large fishtank. Inside this tank was a single goldfish. I quickly became distracted by the little fish moving this way and that. He swam upside down and at one point almost straight into the glass. I wished so desperately in that moment to switch places with the oblivious orange fish. I would have given anything to escape the never ending probing from the magic dildo wand and would have gladly instead been trapped inside a glass container filled with plastic colored rocks and a tiny castle from Ikea. After endless torture, Doctor JB finally told me I was done and that I was allowed to put my top on and stand up. As I was buttoning up my blouse, I turned around and took a glance at the screen. It was a multiple split screen with about 8 separate images from different angles of my heart and aortic valve all in different contrasts. Some were black and white, others were multi-colored. I immediately wanted to vomit but controlled myself for the fact that I had no plans that evening that would have benefited from my losing two pounds. You must carefully select your vomits so that they benefit you at moments when others see you in public the most. Vomiting before an awards show or public appearance is perfectly appropriate. Vomiting before a night of watching "Scarlett Takes a Tumble" on YouTube while drunk and naked; not appropriate; you just wasted a perfectly good vomit.
                I met with Doctor Sajack after my second test. He informed me that things "looked good" but that he wanted to administer one more test before he was convinced. He scheduled me for a CT Scan for the next week and let me on my merry way. I paid my fee of $30 which is very reasonable as far as the United States are concerned. However, that's $30 more than what I would have paid in Canada, not to  mention that I wouldn't be paying a large semi-monthly payment to a health insurance company in Canada either. A few days later, a woman called me and we booked an appointment for me to come back. She explained to me that I was to not consume any liquids or food before coming for my 8:30am rendez-vous with a new team of doctors. I was thrilled of course, and immediately booked several outings for that same night on account of my knowing that I would be at optimum thin-ness that evening. The day arrived. After my morning starvation, I made my way to hospital which is called "Jack and Jill Medical Center for Cardiology". Was this a children's hospital? That's the gayest name since Clay Aiken's Daycare Camp. I walked inside, filled out some paperwork I barely paid attention to and took a seat. A few moments later, my name was called and I was asked to come have a seat across from a Black lady in a cubicle. The woman was very friendly, she was a recpetionist of sorts and looked exactly like Judge Maybelline. She asked me a series of questions. Here's what I remember.

Maybelline: What's your name?
Me: Brown and Thin.
Maybelline: How tall are you?
Me: 5'11'' (which is a total lie)
Maybelline: How much do you weigh?
Me: Sixty five.
Maybelline: I'm sorry....
Me: Sixty five!
Maybelline: You weigh sixty five pounds?
Me: No. I weigh sixty five kilograms.
Maybelline: Well how many pounds is that?
Me: (Bitch you're the one with the computer!!! - That was the thought in my head). I think it's about one hundred forty five pounds. (Which is not so much a lie but more a goal)
Maybelline: What is your race?
Me: What are my options?
Maybelline: Asian.
Me: No.
Maybelline: Hispanic.
Me: No.
Maybelline: Black.
Me: Possibly, but list the others and I'll get back to you.
Maybelline: Pacific Islander.
Me: No.
Maybelline: Caucasian.
Me: I refer you to my answer for Black.
Maybelline: Other.
Me: Can I check more than one box?
Maybelline: No, you can only pick one.
Me: Then I'll take "Other" for five hundred Alex.

                I just find it so funny that we have to categorize everybody by their race, especially in a day and age when it is very difficult for many people to determine what to call themselves. It's one thing to ask me what my race is, it is quite another to ask me to check a box (and only one box at that). After the series of ridiculous questioning, I was sent up the elevator to meet some doctors. I signed additional paperwork while in another waiting area. I was quite disturbed when I came across a final sheet which was a release form for radioactive intravenus fluid. I am very familiar with the dye or "contrast" used in many of these procedures because I've had it several times, much to my disapproval, for MRIs and MRAs. What I didn't realize was that I was to receive the same intravenus contrast for a CT scan! I immediately turned white and got diarrhea. After I mustered up enough strength to pry myself from the toilet, I returned from the public restroom and signed the release form and sat down in the waiting room in complete fear. In walked a large White woman with a lab coat, holding a clipboard, and wearing more make-up and eyeliner during the day than a discounted prostitute in Las Vegas. "Did Paula Dean make a sudden career change?" was the first question I asked my imaginary friend in my head and under my breath. I just really couldn't comprehend the site of blue eyeshadow before Noon. I was dumbfounded and luckily distracted from the invasive abuse that was about to ensue. Dr. Paula Dean explained to me in the most delicate way what was going to happen to my frail and talented body. She said in her Southern drawl, "We gonna sit ya down on this here flat bed. We gonna stick ya with an intravenus (which she pronounced "interrrvenus"), then we gonna slide ya intuh this here tube see, and it's gone take pictures of yer insides right quick, then the machine gone tell you when ya gotta hold ya breath, and you gotta hold it for a real long time ya little whipper snapper!". I couldn't stop my jaw from dropping. I tried really hard, I did. I decided at that moment that the faster I got this done, the quicker the monstrosity of medical intervention would be over. I launched myself onto to the table and closed my eyes. In walked Dr. Paula Dean's hispanic sidekick. Apparently, Enrique Iglesias was the one who would be designated to actually shove the intravenus tube into my forearm. By the looks of him, I couldn't believe I would meet someone I would actually trust less than Paula Dean to do that to me. As Nurse Iglesias prepared the needle, Dr. Paula Dean was strategically trying to distract me with a myriad of questions about my personal life so that perhaps I wouldn't notice the degenerate Mexican getting ready to stab me. I was sweating profusely and shamelessly freaking out on the inside for the fact that my very wellbeing was left to the hands of a country bumpkin and an illegal alien who's last job was probably cleaning beds at the Sheraton . I took a deep breath as the Mexican stabbed me with the needle then injected the intravenus. Honestly, it never hurts as much as I think it will. I would rather feel that pain for two seconds than be gently molested by the ultrasound doctor with his magic rape wand. Enrique Iglesias then said, "Let's do some breathing exercises". I, frankly, was much more interested in him doing some English exercises. Nonetheless he instructed me to hold my breath for fifteen seconds. He applauded my efforts and congratulated my accomplishment of fulfilling the task. I, however, was quite annoyed by his lack of participation. When I hear someone say "let's do something", I assume that that means we will be doing the activity together. This little Mexican didn't even try to hold his breath! After that disastrous situation, Doctor Paula Dean gave me a pill which was referred to as nitroglycerin which supposedly helps the doctors see the pictures more clearly. She told me that it would probably give me a headache but it would be all worth it in the end. Way to see the glass half full lady! She put the pill under my tongue and to let it dissolve slowly throughout the procedure. Dumb and Dumber bid me adieu. They explained that they would be in the next room while monitoring the procedure, I'm assuming so that they can avoid getting cancer from the radiation.

                 The tube didn't scare me at first. I had dealt with a lot worse. With an MRI or MRA you are sent (sometimes head first) very deep into a long, dark space-tube that is just wide enough to fit the breadth of your shoulders. On certain occasions I had weights which were referred to by the doctors as "cameras" all over my chest, weighing down my torso. For forty five minutes I wouldn't be allowed to move. It was absolute torture. Having done this three times previously, I didn't think this would be so bad. In fact, I was told this would only take ten minutes at most. And to make things even better, the tube for a CT scan is not even a third of the length of my body, so I wouldn't be submerged into a clostrophobic nightmare like I had previously with an MRI. As I began moving on the conveyor belt toward the tube I chuckled when I noticed something on the end of the tube. It was two strategically placed Pac-Man looking heads. One of which was demonstrating a person holding his/her breath and the other showing someone breathing normally. I should emphasize that all the instructions for any MRI, MRA, CAT Scan, or CT Scan are given audibly by your doctor in plain English. This can only lead me to the conclusion that in terms of visual aids that the deaf and Mexicans need clear explanations too. Once half of my body was submerged into the horizontal tube I just lay there rather bored. I heard a bunch of loud noises; nothing any different from an MRI. But then all of a sudden the tube started spinning, really fast! To be clear, I was not spinning, it was just the tube. But at some moments it was moving so quickly, I began to wonder whether or not I was in fact the one spinning. Then out of nowhere, I heard Enrique Iglesias over the loud speaker announce, "We are going to inject you with the dye now.". I rolled my eyes in disapproval and waited impatiently. Out of nowhere I felt a shock go through my body as the foreign liquid forged its way inside my veins. For a split second, I literally felt my entire body jump off the conveyer belt. I was, for a split second, suspended in mid-air due to the complete and utter shock of the invasive contrast entering my body. As I landed back on planet Earth I tried to slow my breath and heartbeat to a normal rate. I knew previously that I would experience certain side effects from the intravenus, mainly a sudden increase in temperature. In fact, I did feel myself become hot immediately! This was to be expected, but what I hadn't anticipated was that this sudden heat flash would occur in two specific places; my head and my genitalia. When I tell you that my testicles were lit by the fires of Lucifier, this is no exaggeration. I felt like in that moment that my penis was going throgh menopause and its mid life crisis all at once. Suddenly, amidst the sudden temperature rise in my jewels, the nitroglycerin started kicking in causing what felt like the worst migraine in my life. Just to recap my experience in that moment: I felt dizzy from the increasingly spinning apparatus, overwhelmingly overheated from the intravenus, and in excruciating pain from the medication slowly dissolving in my mouth which by the way made me want to gag to make matters worse. And of course it was only at this moment of desperation was when Paula Dean piped in, "OK. Here we go, hold your breath for twenty seconds.". I took a deep breath, tried to concentrate on happy thoughts consisting of tulips and pregnant horses. The only thing that brought comfort in this precarious situation were the lovely hieroglyphics above me. But when I tell you, at the moment I took my last breath and started to hold, I saw that hieroglyph change from the breathing PAC-Man which was illuminated with yellow lights to the holding its breath PAC-Man which was illuminated with bright red lights. It took everything in me not to burst out laughing at this ridiculous sight of a disheveled, overhwhelmed PAC-Man desperately trying to hold its breath. I think it was  funny to me in that moment because I knew exactly what he was going through. I was experiencing his exact pain at the same time. The only thing that prevented me from bursting out into a mixture of laughter and tears was the fact that if I stopped holding my breath I could possibly screw up the images and be forced to go through the procedure all over again at a later date. The thought of that experIience repeating itself was the impetus I needed for my commitment to my breath holding. Before I knew it, I was smoothly reversing out from the human sized metal condom along the conveyor belt.

               I was finally free from the jaws of Paula Dean and Enrique Iglesias. The Mexican removed the intravenus and I was on my way. Dr. Paula Dean escorted me out. She handed me a copy of my release form and instructed me to help myself to some apple juice in the refrigerator. I was very excited on account of my incessant love for all things juice. I love apple juice, orange juice, and grapefruit juice the most (possibly in that order). I opened what appeared to be a bar fridge (I tried not to get too excited) to discover a thousand tiny plastic containers of apple juice. I grabbed one of the disappointingly sized plastic containers and peeled off the cover. I chugged the whole thing in one foul swoop. It was absolutely abhorred. It tasted like dish soap. I blame this slightly on the nitroglycerin I had consumed which had barely finished dissolving only a few minutes prior. But nonetheless, I was shamelessly disappointed.

                I made my way back home on the train. As the train haulted from stop to stop, picking up and dropping off passengers, I reflected on what I had just experienced as the side effects from the drugs and contrast slowly wore off. It just tickled me that every doctor's visit felt like a rape exam, or perhaps just a rape itself. It's always so invasive to the point that I feel like I need to pay for yet another doctor just to deal with the trauma of from the previous doctor. It's a vicious circle of American health care with its fangs deep inside the poor and needy people who get stuck with the bill because they have either no or insufficient health care. This is a serious problem that plagues America just like its disregard for racial inequality or its love for crocks. The train arrived at my stop. As I stood up and exited the train I felt a breeze sifting through and up my derriere. I, in investigation, gently fondled the back of my leg to discover that there was a huge rip in the back of my pants the whole time! I had been so pre-occupied with being date raped by illegal aliens posing as doctors that I was completely unaware with the travesty occurring on the backside of my own body! No wonder those doctors took advantage of me. They probably took one look at that bi-racial Canadian and thought, "Well clearly he's just asking for it." I will be making every effort possible to sell my story for a future episode of Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit. If anyone is going to benefit from my doctor rape, it's going to be me.