Turning a lemon into lemonade

Published 7:53 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A cyst showed up on my left hand some time back. After noticing it and wondering what it was, I forgot about it. It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t sore and didn’t interfere with anything in my daily routine.

A few months later, I noticed it again and decided to be more proactive and have it checked out.  When anything goes wrong medically, I have the good fortune of walking down from my office to the University of Georgia Sports Medicine Clinic where Ron Courson will diagnose promptly and insightfully and send me in the right medical direction.

He asked Kelly Ward, a physician’s assistant, who works with the Georgia football team, to evaluate which Kelly did. Kelly later sent me to a Piedmont Regional lab for magnetic resonance imaging. If that is a term with which you are not familiar, perhaps it is best to refer my lab visit as an MRI appointment.

First, I am conditioned from years of medical experience, that it is best to take a book or your laptop and be prepared to be patient whenever you go for a medical appointment.  If you allow a couple of hours, you may discover you didn’t allow enough time.  That is why a book with interesting reading can make you forget the time commitment that it often takes when you are on a medical visit.

Not sure how it happened, but someone in the process forgot about me while I was in the waiting room on one of the busiest days of the fall.  I don’t believe in ranting and raising my voice at people who try to manage medical appointments when waiting rooms always seem to be full. I try to think about how demanding it is on medical personnel to make it through their busy days.

If you are sick and ailing, you are likely to be short tempered and abrupt. I did feel, however, that it was in order to note that I deserved something specific in the way of an appointment—not to sit and wait until someone “could work me in.”

Sonya Chapman, a Winterville resident, the nice mother of two boys, smiled and said, “I’ll try to help you.”  She did. She called a technician in the MRI quarters and ask if they could forecast a time that I could count on to be accommodated.  She made the call about lunchtime and got a response that I should return at 2 p.m.

This enabled me to meet a luncheon appointment and make it back in time for the MRI session. Sonya went out of her way to assist. She smiled the entire time, apologizing for the inconvenience.  She was so pleasant that it made me forget about my time being compromised.

After my luncheon appointment, I returned to the lab and Sonya ushered me in for the MRI. I had an MRI before so it wasn’t totally unfamiliar, but if you think about 30 minutes flat on your back lying in a circular contraption that looks like a gussied-up, round culvert, and you are impatient, then a half hour seems more like an hour.  That 30 minutes, by the way, is accompanied by a thump, thump, thumping akin to the sounds of a jackhammer—fortunately not as loud, but as irritating just the same. A nice technician, Michael Nolan, offered comforting advice with his instructions. “This won’t take long, but it will seem like it,” he said. Then he suggested that I could wear head phones and asked what kind music I preferred.

“Country,” I said.

“Any particular artist,” he said.

“Got any Willie Nelson,” was my response.

“Got you covered,” Michael smiled.

I appreciated Willie getting me through the day and leaving me in a grateful mood.

Willie has long been a favorite.  Once I sat a half of a first down away from him when he conducted a free concert for a friend in Houston. I learned something about performers like Willie that night. If they are going to perform, then they are going to give you their best shot, no matter the reason for being on stage.

As much as I appreciated Willie’s influence on my emotions during an MRI, I was just as thankful for the considerate efforts of Sonya and Michael for turning a lemon into lemonade.