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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trolls cannot change truth, but truth changes Trolls.

Illustration of Walter Stenström's

In the weeks following my 61st birthday I faced my troll. The fearsome creature usually lives in the caves of my consciousness. It pops up threatening to swallow me on occasion. This time it leaped out and surprised me while I was undergoing my annual medical examinations and subsequent tests.

First I made appointments with the hematologist, primary care physician, gastroenterologist and physical therapist. Because my back pain was increasing, I scheduled an appointment to check my orthopedic shoe adjustments and inserts. I also booked an appointment with my dentist to talk about my toothache. 

The physical therapist evaluated my flexibility and strength and adjusted my weekly regimen; doubling the days per week I should spend practicing my routines. The dentist custom-made a night guard to prevent me from grinding my teeth in my sleep. That troll was definitely emerging from the cave.

The other doctors wrote orders for the routine lab tests, scheduled radiology appointments, and set dates for follow-up appointments. Grimly I began attempting to cross the bridge, checking off the list, so that I could reach the other side to (at least temporary) safety. It looked like the troll was creepy crawly coming my way.

I find that lists have a way of growing longer even as items are checked off. This list was no exception. No sooner had I checked off annual mammogram than I got a call to come back for an ultrasound for the suspect breast tissue. The evil troll appeared, smiling and licking its lips. I am a stubborn goat though, so I banished the troll with a promise that soon there would be a fatter goat to eat.

When the new shoes I had ordered arrived they had been improperly adapted and had to be returned so that the work could be corrected. The mouth guard has been adjusted three times already. The toothache isn’t gone but the neck pain and morning headaches have disappeared.

The liver function blood tests were drawn on the orders of the hematologist and a month later the gastroenterologist wrote another order for a blood test. The troll was not alone this time. They looked bigger than I had remembered while I felt smaller. It will still be a few weeks before I get all the results and until then I intend to befriend those nasty trolls.