Cancer Circus and Me
By Leonard William Zajicek
When the nurses came in to wheel my gurney into the operating room, I grinned and made feeble jokes. Inside, I was as scared as never before. My son walked with us and stopped at the door as he was not allowed in this operating room because of family. His concern was evident as was the rest of my family in the waiting room. The coolness of the room made my skin grow goose bumps. The thought of this being my last trip crossed my mind. I thought of all the things I wanted to do, and I thought of all the things I should have done. I remembered the day I told my Dad I loved him. Though late in life, I realized how much it meant to him and me. I had a little peace from that because these words could not have passed between us if I had waited.
My own son's words of "I love you" still remain in my ears and give me much joy. Both my spirit and soul are now being tested.
The mask is now placed over my face and I drift into that deep sleep when the doctor becomes the puppeteer and I the puppet.
The surgery he performs upon me will be the strings that dangle from my body. Will they be strong and taut? Will they bring back the dance left in my feet, the laughter I've not yet used, the joy of future love, the smiles of grandchildren?
Will the strings drop because I've waited too long to have the rotted parts relied? Will my spirit and soul search now for a place to be reborn?
The sounds of humming monitor machines creep into my foggy head, my eyes dare to open and the pain makes itself known to me.
Dan and the doctor are the first I become aware of and the grins upon their faces are real. Dan says, "Dad, how do you feel"? I look up with half opened eyes and reply, "I feel like shit"! They both laugh and tell me that they did not have to remove my bladder or prostate! When they got into the bladder, they saw that the tumors had not penetrated the walls and the bladder did not have to be removed! I laughed with too much enthusiasm and the stitches brought me back to the pre op with pain streaking up my body and bringing happy tears to my face. The doctor assured me the catheter connected to my penis was only temporary until my bladder healed. Well, so much for leaving an impression on the ladies yet to be danced with! My family were in my room when I finally left pre op and smiles and love filled the room. After a while, the nurse came in with stern orders that all must leave and let me get some rest.
The window was filled with sunshine and fell upon me with welcomed warmth. As I lay alone, my thoughts drifted to my good fortune and what I should do now. The weeks came and went as I healed completely.
I returned to work on a part time basis. Good fortune again knocked at my door as I found out that a new insurance company had picked up our group. Though this did not cover my bills with the hospital or doctors, at least my future would be covered. It was now that I contacted a lawyer in Minnesota who would take my case against the "kidney" specialist. After a period of eight months the case was settled out of court and I received a settlement of $75,000. After my attorney received his compensation, the balance left was $43,000. Of that amount, I paid out a total of $29,590. to doctors and the hospital. The State of Wisconsin picked up the balance through an insurance pool. It took Wisconsin over 11 months to do this and I was in every collection agency even though through letters and phone calls, I tried to explain what was happening. My credit standing was destroyed, but eventually all bills were satisfied.
Six months after I thought I had paid my obligations to the hospital, I received a bill which stated a balance due of $370.00. I asked for an itemized account, which they would not acknowledge. To this day, that has not been paid because of principle and computer mistakes.