Monday, November 05, 2007

Tony's Bump

I got home around 6 tonight and Tony was waiting by the front gate. He was kind of hunched over. He's let his beard grow.

I asked how he was and he said, "Not good."

"That makes two of us. What's wrong?"

"I came to see if you had any pain pills or something," he said. He came inside the gate and pulled up his shirt. A little southwest of his navel there was a lump or a bump sticking out. The bump was not open or or oozing, just a lump under the skin, but it was pretty big, maybe an inch horizontal and almost as long vertical. It was somewhere between round and rectangular. "It just showed up yesterday," he said. "It hurts. I didn't get out of bed today until now."

"You need to go to County. Now," I said at once. "Here is two dollars, for bus fare to Cook County Hospital, only."

He made like he was going to take my bike up the front steps. "Nuh-uh! You can hold the door for me if you want, but you are not carrying anything with that going on."

So he held the door for me while I got my bike in the front foyer. I invited him in for a minute and asked if he'd eaten anything today. He said he had and it had stayed down.

I went looking to see if I had any Tylenol, but I don't. Dr. Maritza needs to beef up her first aid supplies: the Band-Aids are getting used up and we're out of painkillers. I did have a bottle of water and a two-pack of granola bars. "This is for your trip. I know it's a long wait at County. You're going, right?"

He said yes. I walked back out to the front gate with him and told him to come see me when he knows what it is.

Then I walked in the house and opened the newsletter from Partners In Health to read Paul Farmer saying, "All enduring good work is done by teams (no doctor can be effective alone)." Dr. Maritza is feeling like her bench, like her medicine cabinet, is not that deep.

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