Friday afternoon, while most of you healthy people were hurrying home from work or school, or visiting your favorite restaurants or cafes or shops, in short, while you were enjoying the comforts of your mostly urban existence, the asthenic boy who writes these lines had to lie flat upon a medical couch while a short and slim lady-hematologist about 50 years old (not at all bad looking, if I may add) pressed her fingers into his groin or thereabout, much to his dismay.
‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ she asked.
‘I am a bachelor,’ I excused myself.
‘I’m serious,’ she said, pushing her fingers more deeply. ‘Have you had unprotected sex?’
Certainly not, sorry to disappoint you, curious reader. Literature is my mistress, and to her I have been faithful these past few years. Do I miss the sense of intimacy, of companionship, of dependency associated with a romantic relationship? Sometimes I do, but most of the time I don’t. Being solitary has its advantages, especially when faced with, ahem, the prospect of death. It’s easier to die alone than surrounded by others. Less regret, less disappointment, less tragedy.
‘No swollen lymph nodes in the groin,’ she said, looking at me half-relieved, half-worried. Still, that doesn’t rule out a virus such as Epstein-Barr. I’ll send you to do some more blood tests and if those are inconclusive you can do a biopsy.’
Thus this week the boy will be copiously pricked; large quantities of his blood will be extracted. The next week he will probably have to be cut in the neck, so that a suspicious peanut-like lymph node may be removed and stared at under a microscope. For his part, he is prepared for the worst. Rather than fear, at present he experiences a fascinating curiosity as to what will come next. Has he truly self-diagnosed himself accurately with Hodgkin’s lymphoma? Or is he wrong? Stay tuned as the boy’s medical drama unfolds…