I knew before he told me that thing were going downhill. I’ve been sleeping a lot lately, no energy, unmotivated. Blecch. My doctor scanned my lab reports and told me that out of nowhere I was suddenly anemic. “I don’t get this,” he said. “You had great numbers for months and now suddenly your numbers look a lot like they did a few years back.” We had noticed the spread of the multiple myeloma; an MRI showed that it now consumed my skeleton from skull to pelvis. It seemed reluctant to enter my limbs but was flirting with the femurs atop my legs. But there had been no real evidence of anything amiss in my blood tests –and now there was. A giant step backwards. When we sw the MRI results we decided to wait and watch what might happen. Now we could see something, the question was, what was it that we were seeing? ”You have to stop getting me all complacent and then springing things on me,” he told me. “It confounds me and makes me feel inadequate as a physician.” Oh, buh-ruther.
“Hunhhh.” I replied, my intellect gleaming under the fluorescent lights.
“…see what you mean,” he was saying. I didn’t hear the first part because I’d fallen asleep while he was paging through the reports on his computer. I had no idea what he was talking about.
“Well, sure.” I said, trying to fake it.
“Sure what?” he asked.
“Jeez, I don’t know. You’re the doctor here. Just tell me what I’m supposed to do.”
“Stop being sick.” he said. That doc, what a card.
“I’m getting a free book.” I told him.
“Really? Which one?”
“Well, a couple, really. There’s this author I like. Name’s Nick Pirog. He wrote a few books: Unforseen, Gray Matter, the Maddy Young Diaries, Afrikaans and a new one, Oz the Schnoz and the Elephant Rebellion. I’ve read them all and it’s paying off.” I was waking up and getting excited. “So, I was reading his last two books and in the backs they both offered a free signed copy of Unforseen if I wrote a review of the book on Amazon. Even a crappy one. So I wrote a review.”
“But, you already have the book.” said doc. It was a question. The question being if you already have the book, why the hell do you want a second copy?
“Yeah, but this is a real book. The copies of his books I have are all made of photons. Real trees were massacred for Unforseen.”
“You said his last two books. So, what? You getting two signed copies of the same book?”
“No, I wrote to him and asked him if I could have a copy of Gray Matter that was signed, since I already earned a copy of Unforseen. Since I wrote a review for Oz the Schnoz also I figured he would see it my way and give me a copy of Gray Matter.”
“Yeah, he said he would. I had to pay for the book though. Pretty cool, eh?”
“So, you bought a free book?”
“Yep.” I radiated smug.
“Let’s get back to your blood test. How’s your pain level been?”
“The guy’s a fricken riot. Well, when he writes the Thomas Prescott books he’s pretty funny. But all of his stuff is exciting.” I replied.
“So, are there more books than those you mentioned?”
“Nope. And a little higher.”
“I don’t understand. What’s higher?” Doc leaned his head to the side kinda like a dog does when it’s thinking ‘WTF?…’
“You asked about my pain level.” I said.
“Ah. So, have you got enough pain meds? Do you need me to increase any of your prescriptions?”
“No, I’m alright. Anyway, have you ever read any of Pirog’s stuff?”
“No, I don’t think I’m familiar with his work.” said doc.
“Well, I’d loan you a copy except I only have Kindle copies. Of course, I don’t read them on my Kindle anymore. Not since I got a Nexus 7 tablet.”
“You’re going to get print copies of those two books, maybe I could borrow those. How about it?”
“Screw that. Are you kidding me? These are signed Pirog first editions! You have to do a lot more than just keep me alive to borrow one of those babies,” I huffed, indignantly. You may be my doctor and all, but hey, this is valuable merchandise we’re talkin’ here. You’re just gonna have to buy copies of his books.”
“I don’t have a Kindle.” said the doctor.
“Well, you have a PC. I know you do. You can read Kindle editions on your PC. Or smartphone maybe. So you should get his books. All of them.”
“What’re you, like, his promotion manager or something? We haven’t spent any time talking about your health.”
“Sure we did. You looked at my labs and said you didn’t understand it. We can come back to it when you do. So, you’re gonna buy his books, right?”
“Okay, what do you say we bring you back the first part of May and take another look. If anything comes up, you can call and we’ll get you in.” Doc started typing on his computer.
“Alright,” I said. “Oh! By the way, I’ve been spiking fevers and sweats for no reason, I’m having urinary issues, and the last three fingers of my left hand have gone numb. That and all of the sleeping I’ve been doing.”
“Do you have any pain in the chest? Abdomen? Kidneys?” Doc wrinkled his forehead to show concern. Or more confusion.
“No. Well, yeah. Uh, no. Not really. I mean, not any more than usual.” I said. Doc stared at me a few seconds and then shook his head and shuddered.
“You’re an interesting guy.” he told me.
“Nick says I’m not senile yet.” I smiled.
“Nick Pirog. Haven’t you been paying attention?”
“So, this guy knows you.”
“Not from Adam. No.”
“You’re better than a Sponge Bob episode, you know that?”
“Who the hell is Sponge Bob?” I asked.
“It’s a cartoon. Never mind.” Doc sighed.
“Oh, yeah. I know the one. Spongy Wetpants.” I held a finger aloft.
“See you in May, Bob. Bob?” Doc sighed and called to the nurse, “Can you get Bob’s wife to come roll his chair out? Thanks. He fell asleep again.”
I assume that’s what happened because I woke up with my wife wheeling me across the parking lot towards my van. “So,” I asked her. “How did my appointment go?” I have no idea what she told me. I fell asleep again.