Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I'll Have The Exploding Heart, Please

There I am minding my own business and that of my spouse’s internal blood parts, when the entire Cancer Institute that manages his myeloma goes into overdrive to ensure he will partake next Monday of a medicine we recently learned killed six people -- out of a total of 300 -- when their hearts exploded. 

By Grabthar’s Hammar … what a bargain.  

In a different trial, I discovered another five participants died of exploding hearts… out of a total of 526!  They’re getting better at killing less people.

If maths serves me and it never has, I think this translates to a 1% chance of spontaneous cardiac death.   

Meaning, he has a 99% chance of not dying. Using a + or - margin for error, worst case is a 96% chance of not dying …

This led me to wonder if dying in a plane crash was statistically similar to him perishing from his life-saving myeloma therapy. I only ask because, after he is infused with this heart toxin on Monday and again on Tuesday, he is scheduled to board an airplane on Wednesday, and still ANOTHER one on Thursday to return home.  

Why not walk into oncoming traffic or take up fencing in lightning storms?

Meanwhile, according to the The Flying Book by David Blatner, more Americans died in car crashes in the last six months than in airplane-crashes in the last one hundred years.

I would have to consult with my math students at AMSA or SOKCS to be certain, but does that mean he should -- or should NOT -- be infused with a Heart-Disintegrator next Monday?

More helpful numbers:  in 1998, 2.5 million – total –Americans died of the following statistics:
 700,000 of heart disease
 500,000 of cancer
 50,000 of medical error
 and 20,000 in car crashes.

 Interestingly, not a single American died from a plane crash that year.

 Evidently, there is a greater chance of death from diagnosed heart disease he does not have … than from having a heart-toxin shot directly into his bloodstream. 

The greatest actual risk seems to relate to nausea.  There is a 60% chance he’ll get that, meaning – as long as his heart doesn’t explode – the risk of death only comes from missing the infusion room’s emesis basin and sliding face-first through his own emetic trail, slamming his head into a stainless steel footboard, dying from a brain hematoma.

Fortunately, this side effect isn’t scheduled for another 24-48 hours, post-infusion, when he can, at 35,000 feet, worf into an air bag located in a padded flap inside the cushioned chair in front of him, in a wall-to-wall carpeted aircraft.

The reason he still plans to journey on this safetycraft for a business trip?

So far, no medical personnel have told him not to.

To be fair, they have not told him much of anything, due to them not returning his calls yet.  They do return emails – but they are sort of nebulous.  “You may or may not have nausea so you might feel nauseated on an airplane, or you might not.  This depends on whether or not you typically get air sick,  and if you do, it makes this side effect pretty much a 100 % certainty, once you're airborne."  

Tick tock.  Three business days remain before the Big Infusion.  

Do we blindly open our veins Monday to receive cardiac C-4  we don’t know our insurance approved that we DO know might kill us prior to boarding a plane that seems statistically safer to ride than drinking tap water that contains coliform bacteria? You’d be surprised how often coliform shows up in drinking water.  There’s some fascinating statistics on that, but I will save them for another day.

Meanwhile, I feel confused that modern medicine – modern oncology in particular – at least appears today to be a non-integrated labyrinth of disjointed parts. 

It’s like Institutionalized Multiple Sclerosis, where the brain tries to keep all of the moving parts in synchronicity … but the legs and arms have totally different plans for the day.

I have been told that in times like these, I should jump rope or vacuum to spike my endorphin levels, and then my calmed mind can rationally ponder our choices.

I totally swear to you –I am not making this up – regard BOTH therapeutic options:  

The cord to the vacuum and my jump rope Houdini’d themselves into irrevocable magician’s clots.

What are the odds?