Friday, July 30, 2010

Hole in My Head

Here are some Fogelisms I've been saving up (code words for: I didn't take the time to blog them).

Regarding a new patient, doc exclaims animatedly: We've got his name! We've got his number! We've got it all!


After one of my "mystery" episodes that frightened me to the point of getting Fredi to call the paramedics, I tell the doctor, "I think I was probably hyperventilating."

The doctor's measured response? "Lori, I'm sure you were."


A middle-aged male patient is walking out the front door of the office. Doc tells him, "Your blood is fine. Come back when you want to see me."

The patient replies: I'll see you in six months."

Doc (shrugging): Whatever. I'm not doing you any good. You won't even left me give you vaccinations. (Shouts) Nurse, give him some vaccinations! (under his breath) I don't know why he is here. There is nothing wrong with him.

The doctor is preparing to travel to Italy with his wife. He is very cheerful and traipsing throughout the office in a jolly manner. Suddenly he says, quite loudly, "Bon Giorno!"

Several people look up at him, puzzled.

Doc says, without a beat, "I'm practicing."


Doc: I'll always remember coming out of an opera called the Nose.

Unfortunately, that's the whole remembered anecdote, because even though he related a lengthy story about the opera, the image of an opera called the Nose was so powerful it stuck in my head and I have no idea what he said the rest of the time.

Doc (in the context of I don't know what): You have many holes in your head.

Most recently, this last week, the doc calls me at home to tell me a member of the medical press, a writer for, as he calls it, a "throw-away journal," wants to talk to me about my activism on Avastin.

Doc tells me he mentioned me, that he told her I am wonderful, and he would like to give me her contact information to talk with her.

"Sounds great!" I said, flattered and grateful for the opportunity to talk to any member of the press, even for a "throw-away journal," about what I believe are political issues surrounding Avastin.

"Well," sighs the doc, "It's better than watching a puppy on TV."


Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Quick One

Okay, two quick ones. Sorry I haven't updated this in so long. I'm enjoying my summer on the days I can. :) I do have a storehouse of these somewhere for a later date.

The doc asks me if I want to hear a dirty joke. I can't really resist, so I say yes.

He says a 93-year-old patient told him this. She apparently loved to tell dirty jokes to anyone who would listen, but particularly Dr. F.

The joke goes like this:

A nun and a priest are riding through the desert on a camel. They run out of water and supplies, get hopelessly lost and it doesn't look good for them. The three of them collapse in the sun and sand, and the camel seems near death.

The priest says to the nun, "Sister, I have been celibate my whole life. I entered my priestly training at a young age, and I have never been with a woman. I'm very curious. Do you think you could ... ?

Realizing they are going to die, the nun does the sign of the cross, asks Jesus to forgive her, and lifts up her top, exposing her breasts.

The priests eyes practically pop out of his head as he looks at the nun's breasts. He hardly knows what to say. Those are ... beautiful! he exclaims.

"You know, Father," says the nun, "I also entered a monastery at a very young age, and I have never been with a man nor seen his genitals. Do you think you could ... ?"

The priest begins with a bit of a lecture about his manly parts, telling the nun that what she is about to see is the giver of life, and all God-given life emanates from this, and it should be respected as the holiest of holy ....

He pulls down his pants. The nun stares, wide-mouthed, for just a second before she says, "All right, then, stick that thing in the camel and let's get out of here!"

So a nun, a priest and a camel walk into a bar ...

No, that's not a Fogelism.

Here's my Fogelism of the "week."

Doc (Reviewing my blood test results):  Your phosphorous is high.

(Dramatic pause)

Doc: I have no idea what the hell that means.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I have a lot of sour faces

As I'm getting my port accessed by the nurse, doc happens to walk by the room and tells me I made a sour face.

"I have a lot of sour faces," I reply.

Doc: No, not usually. This one was an extraordinarily sour face.

"Well, I didn't feel anything."

Doc: But that's because you made a sour face. 
Last week in the midst of my Benadryl-induced sleep I vaguely heard the doctor yelling at a patient in the back, "Mr. Barnhardt, wake up! Talk to me, Mr. Barnhardt." The patient was unresponsive, apparently, and I remember hearing them call 911 for an ambulance. 

At some point after that, the doc walked through the waiting room (which is also the chemo infusion area) and looked around at all the patients, who were basically fast asleep, and I heard him say, "Everyone is so tense in my waiting room."

Somehow I slept through the arrival of the ambulance and the paramedics coming in. I only know this because I later asked the nurse if an ambulance had come. That is some deep Benadryl sleep!
Doc tells a family member in the waiting room: You're not pacing. You can pace all you want, as long as you don't smoke.

Family member: I haven't smoked in 15 years!
The husband of a patient stands up from the couch and approaches the doc in the waiting room. 

Mr. Watson: I am interested in biochemistry and cancer now that I am in my 70s.

Doc (deadpan): ... uh-huh.

Mr. Watson: There are chlorine fumes when you are taking a shower. 

Doc: ... uh ...

Mr. Watson: They can irritate the airway passages and create inflammation ...

Doc (interrupting): Mr. Watson, you're a nice guy, but I'm not going to let you talk about chlorine. 

The doc turns around and walks out of the room.
The doc sees me with my cell phone, which is a very basic one, and says: You're the only one I know that still has a cell phone like mine.

He looks again and says: Oh, no. Yours is even fancier. It has a screen on the outside.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Fredi dropped me off at chemo this week, because it was a Monday and he had to work, so the Fogelisms were a little harder to capture and remember while solo.

After my exam, the doc told the nurse: Lori wants to be accessed. I don't know why, but she's got both of her shirts back on already.

(which wasn't true, by the way, I only put my arms in a yellow zip-up hoodie because I was cold)

After I got settled on a leather couch in the chemo area, which is basically in the living room of a house from the 1950s or so, I realized I wasn't very comfortable without a pillow. Since Fredi wasn't with me, I went into the back of the office to get a pillow for myself. As I did so, the doc and I crossed paths, and he announced to no one in particular:

"Lori's on the move!"

What am I, a herd of elephants?

Once, while trying to find the nurse, I kept running into the doc in the narrow hallways of the office, and I said to him, "I'm sorry, I swear I'm not following you."

Doc: That's okay. I've done worse.

This week could have been a more fertile week for the blog, but I was really tired and out of it, and I didn't hear everything clearly besides.

But I heard part of an exchange that went something like this:

Doc was examining a patient and said loudly, "Oh, my goodness! He looks good AND he has a heart!"

An undetermined amount of time later, in a mock surprise voice: It's beating!

This somehow led into a a discussion of the Scarecrow needing a heart.

Doc: The Scarecrow wants 20 of epo!

Then a diatribe on the Wizard of Oz. I heard bits and pieces of how the book was actually an allegory of farm economics (true) and how the yellow brick road represented the gold standard (also true). I may have heard wrong, but then I could have sworn I the doc said, "The Tin Man, he only had a brain." (Not exactly true)

The doc also said, "The Tin Man was Ray Bolger." (Also not true, Ray Bolger was originally cast as the Tin Man, but when Buddy Ebsen accidentally inhaled some tin powder that was in the original Tin Man makeup and almost died, Ray Bolger, who wanted to be the Scarecrow, got to switch parts)

The nurse then corrected the doctor, and then he corrected himself, and then he went on to talk about how the book ends with the wizard getting overthrown and the Scarecrow being left in charge of Oz.

All of this led to some pretty wacky chemo-daydreams and maybe a few nightmares on my part, that's all I can say.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Chicken Fun Day!

Photo above taken of a kid who a quarter of an hour before this said, "I don't WANNA go to the beach!"

This is a special edition of Fogelisms, KKisms. KKisms? Works for me.

My 6-year-old niece Katie said these or wrote these to me, and I can't help myself. I've gotta share 'em.

A letter, I'm not sure of the date(transcribed from the spoken word by Sara):

Dear Lori - I miss you so much, I wish I could go on a plane right now to see you. I love you so much.
I want to see you soon another day. I hope you come to see me. I wish I could live where you live in Sleepy Hollow.
I change into summer pajamas every day because our house is nice and warm.
Have a chicken fun day! Oh my dear!
Dear Katie

Another letter to me, also transcribed by Sara:

I hope you come to my house. I hope I see you through. Babar, I hope your love is true.
-- Katie, age 4 
Last year, when my awesome music therapy friends hooked me up with the most amazing Yankees tickets ever for the Cubs-Yankees exhibition game, Katie was here visiting with the rest of my immediate family. When I opened the envelope with the tickets in it, I'm sure I was crying from joy and overwhelm.
Katie asked, genuinely and justifiably confused: "Why would a music therapist send baseball tickets?"

At some point during the trip, we were trying to locate my parents but they weren't answering their cell phones, and Katie remarked: "Why did they have to put them in a hotel? It's like a treasure hunt now."
Katie is very funny at times, and I like to think she takes after me in that department, but the truth is there are some good funny bones in our family. It would be impossible to recall even a fraction of the funny things Katie has said in her young life.

She didn't write this one, someone at Hallmark did, but I did get the best Mother's Day card from her last year:

Your loving heart
has blessed the lives
of those around you
in so many beautiful ways
I'm so glad I have
such a wonderful godmother.

Happy Mother's Day.

I love all the kids in my life!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day

I think the Doc forgot that he had seen my new hat last week. When he came in the exam room today, he said, "Oh, I like this hat much better. You know, my littlest son wears hats like that. Once when we were in St. Petersburg there was a statue of Lenin wearing a hat like that."

For the record, tonight I did find a drawing of Lenin wearing a similar hat, but none of the photos of the Lenin statues in St. Petersburg had him wearing any hat at all. 
The famous statue of Lenin in St. Petersburg is absolutely gigantic. 
I did find a photo of a Lenin statue in Seattle, Washington where Lenin is wearing "my hat."

I was on heavy drugs last year in April for my brain radiation treatment, so I wouldn't have known about this, but you may know there was a blast in St. Petersburg that blew a hole in the statue's coat (the statue from the second photo above). 

That's your history lesson for today. Well, my history lesson that I'm sharing with you.
A male patient was waiting to see the doc. Doc comes through the rooms and says, "Mr. Christie,* why are you here?"

Mr. Christie: I got a wound [on my head].

Doc: Well, look where you're going!

Mr. and Mrs. Christie discuss with the doc whether they should have done anything differently when the wound occurred. Then ...

Doc: Let me introduce you ...
to a telephone. Call me!

Mrs. Christie: But why did the wound get so bad?

Doc: He's not a young chicken anymore. Old people have fragile skin.
Random tidbits:

I'm the guy who sits there at the parade and says, "Why is the emperor naked?"

A while later, when going into an exam room to see a patient, "Why isn't the emperor naked???"

Nurse: Doctor [X]?

Doc (cheerfully): That's me!
Walking by me while I'm mostly asleep, Doc remarks: Cute socks!
Doc to diabetic patient who was wondering why his blood sugar fluctuates so much: You know what's going to make your blood sugar stop going up and down?

When you're dead!
Doc to same patient: You need to keep eating!

And: Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. You must wear green. 

If you're going to drink too much, don't drive.

Over here they don't know how to make beer, but Sam Adams is pretty good. They mostly don't taste like anything, the American beers.

Budweiser tastes like urine.

Becks is a little watery.
German white beers are good.

Patient to Doc: In Germany they've been making beer for 500 years.

Doc: Longer than that!
This one I may have gotten wrong, but I think I'm close, and I had to include it:

Doc, walking through the office: I haven't prayed in years because I lost my mind.
Patient: When do I need to come back?

Doc: In three months so we can make sure you're still alive. 
The patient goes to the assistant to make the appointment. He says, "He wants me to come back in 12 weeks."

She asks him what time.
Patient (earnestly): Six o'clock in the morning would be good!

*All names have been changed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wedding Anniversary Chemo Day

First thing Doc says when he comes in the exam room today:

That's a nice hat. It's much cuter than the other one. I like this one much better. My son wears hats like that.
The doc tells us a dirty joke. 

Man: Do you smoke after sex?
Woman: (Looking down to her nether regions) I don't know. I never looked.

Then the doctor says to us, "I had this 73-year-old lady patient. She told the best dirty jokes."

Then he gives us an example: A man came home to find his wife in bed with another man. Outraged, he cries, "What are you doing?"
The woman says to her lover, "See, I told you he was stupid." 
Doctor to administrative assistant: 
Hey, did you know Father Martucci is a lawyer? I knew there was something wrong with that guy. 
Doc is walking through the treatment room, which is empty except for me, because all the other patients are finished with their treatment for today. Fredi is in the basement of the house studying for his mid-term and writing a paper. 

I'm basically asleep on the couch, but I hear the doc when he asks, "Lori, are you okay?"

Me: Mm-hm.

Doc: Because you weren't moving.
Later the doctor says to no one in particular: I don't think I should leave while Lori is still dripping.
Maybe my favorite Fogelism of all time, preceded by a runner-up:

There is a patient in this oncology practice who is a priest known to us simply as "The Monsignor." 

"Monsignor," says the doctor, Did you know there is an angel sitting next to you?"

Later, near the end of the day, Doc says to a married couple, "Chans, let's get you out of here. I've got a naked monsignor waiting for me."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

He's Like the Britney Spears of Switzerland

Special Edition of Fogelisms
Funny things said by me and Fredi and Carli.

My oncologist doesn't have the lock on funny. Fredi wants to make a blog about the funny things I say. That is not going to happen, but his idea was inspired by the following conversation.

I get frequent headaches from my sinuses and as a side effect of one of my IV treatments. Fredi and I were discussing this, and he was talking about the size and shape of my head.

I said I have a very large head (but I really don't), because of what's inside: my "monumental brain."

Don't know where I came up with that one. Apparently my monumental brain thinks a lot of itself. 
We've had a ton of snow, and I think Fredi and I are suffering from a form of snow blindness or cabin fever or a combination of both.

On Friday while we were getting ready for Fredi's gig, I spotted our cat Mikey out of the corner of my eye. He was standing with his body perpendicular to me longways, and I suddenly said to Fredi, almost unable to speak because I was doubled over with laughter, "For a second, I thought that was a miniature horse."

A little while later, I was getting my auburn wig, whom I've named Sharona, ready for our night out. She was very mussed up, and I found a yellow paperclip in her hair. 

I told Fredi I found a paperclip in Sharona's hair and that I was wondering how that possibly could have gotten there. He walked over to where I was holding the wig on a styrofoam head, shook his index finger at the wig and said sternly, "Sharona, where have you been?"
At Fredi's gig with the Blacktails, my friend Jill was telling her daughter, Carli, that Fredi is practically famous in Switzerland. 

She was exaggerating quite a bit, (sorry, Jill) but that notion might come from the time a woman sort of yelled out across the lawn of an outdoor cafe, "Das ist der Fredi Meli!" meaning, "That is THE Fredi Meli!"

Also Fredi was on the news in Switzerland last fall with one of his musical projects, STMJC. It's worth a look even if you don't know a word of Swiss German. 

Anyway, when Jill told Carli Fredi was famous, Carli said, "You mean he's like the Britney Spears of Switzerland?"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

I was supposed to have a week off chemo, but I guess I just couldn't stay away from my friends at the oncologist's office.

I knew if I called the onc and told him I am sick with a cold and have a cough and slight fever, he would tell me to come in and see him.

Which he did.

Excerpt from our phone conversation:

Doc: I think you should get a chest x-ray and come in to see me.

Me: It's just that I'm so tired, and it's really exhausting to run around to the hospital to get a chest x-ray and then come all the way to your office and everything else. Maybe what I need is some more rest.

Doc: I don't believe that anybody ever needs rest.
I still protested.

Doc: It only takes two seconds to get a chest x-ray.

Me: Yes, but I might have to wait a long time before I get in to have the x-ray.

Doc: Just smile at them. [Pause]
You're good at that.
When I get to his office after getting my chest x-ray done at the hospital, the doctor sees me coming in the door with my winter hat on (as pictured below) and exclaims: 
Ach! You need to do something about that hat!
As we're in the waiting room at the end of the appointment, he starts telling us about an opera he went to see last night. 

He explains: In order to make the opera work, it had to be done carefully silly by every single person involved. 

And in regards to another opera: The soprano was projected out into the audience on a 30-foot movable ramp. She was basically spitting on the conductor. Which was great for everyone in the audience.
The doctor's new granddaughter was born last week. The grandson is now about two years old, and the doc says, "He's the smartest two-year old there ever was."

Doc: My daughter-in-law nearly had a fit when I told her what her son's name means in Hebrew. 

Me: What's his name?
Doc: Jonah.

Me: What does it mean?

Doc: Pigeon.

Me: That's not too bad.

Doc: Would you want to name your kid "Pigeon?"

Me: Guess not.

Doc: She said to me, "I thought it meant "Dove." I told her, "What's the difference? They're both birds that crap all over everything."
I am talking to the nurses in the hallway outside the exam room while waiting for the doctor. He comes around the corner with my chart in his hands and says loudly, "Lori, let's DO it!"

A patient sitting in a chair waiting to have his blood drawn pipes up, "I don't want to know about that."


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening?

Heard around the office:

All right. [Pause] I want your blood, Mrs. Benson.

Kristen, how do you want to do Mr. Lyon? Do you want to stick him in his port or stick him in his arm?
We brought some of my awesome pumpkin oatmeal vegan cookies for the staff and patients. We told the Doc that we brought the cookies and that I had entered a cookie recipe contest.

He asked what organization was sponsoring the contest, and I told him the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network [in partnership with Divvies Bakery]. I explained that the recipe had to be free of eggs, milk products such as butter, and nuts. 

When he left the room, we heard him in the hallway saying: Where are these oatmeal cookies I'm hearing about? Supposedly they have no flour, no salt, no fat, no nothing.
During my exam:

Doc: Next Wednesday I am going to be in Philadelphia for the birth of my new grandchild.

They're going to rip the baby out of her.

If it's a grandson, he's going to have his penis cut off. I'll have to tell him to keep his zipper up.

(Oh, yes, he really said that about the bris)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It only seems much longer

After walking by the exam room and seeing me "arranging" Fredi's bed head,
Doc says to the nurse: Lori was grooming Fredi. I thought that was cute.

During the physical exam, Doc mentions he has known me for a while now, and he says it's been about four years. I know we met in April 2007, and I say to him, "Actually, I'm pretty sure, it's been almost three years."

Doc: It seems much longer.

Me: Is that good or bad?

Doc: I don't know.

After the exam, I put back on just my bra and zippered hoodie. I'm not going to get fully dressed until after the nurse accesses my Port-A-Cath chemo port. I walk out into the hallway for a minute to ask a question, forgetting the hoodie isn't zipped up, so my bra is showing a bit.

Doc is in the back room, sees me standing there in the hallway and tells me:
Be careful, Lori. Don't go wandering around here half naked. There's a bunch of old men.

Apparent pharmaceutical rep: Hi, Doctor, a friend of yours, Dr. Arnold, sent me.

Doc: Dr. Arnold sent you? You must have some freebies for me then!

Rep: No, no freebies.

Doc: No freebies?


Doc: So who are you?

Rep: I'm David Kellum.

Doc: No, I mean who are you, what are you doing here?

Rep: Well, as I mentioned, Dr. Arnold--

Doc: [getting impatient and loud] No, no, I want to know what you do.

Rep: I'm from the West Coast Diagnostics Company, and--

Doc: No, no, no. You're not understanding me. Hold on a minute. [He leaves the room].

While You Were Sleeping

Doc walks by the couch where I am sleeping during chemo. He may or may not remember from the physical exam that I have long johns on under my jeans. I'm wearing a Yankees short-sleeved t-shirt under a knit black sweater with a pink hoodie on top.

I'm also wearing calf-length fuzzy warm green and purple striped socks on my feet, brown leather gloves on my hands, a red and white head scarf with the hood of the jacket pulled over the scarf. I have a pillow under my head, a winter coat underneath me, and two fleece blankets on top of me.

Doc announces to anyone who might be listening: I think we better turn up the heat. Lori looks cold.

All names except mine and Fredi's are changed for privacy reasons.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day

Lori, you are the only person in the world with eyeglasses dirtier than mine.

Again, these boots are not very hottie.

Fredi, I think you have to get her a new hat.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Boots and the Second Leg

While I'm on the exam table on Tuesday, the doctor looks at my snow boots, which are not meant to be fashionable but I think they are cute, Doc says to me: Lori, those boots are not very glam.

This leads indirectly into a story about my niece when she was younger talking about her left leg and calling it her "second leg."

Doc tells me, "You must have read my mind!" and then tells me a sort of related story about telling his 19-month-old grandson to raise his right hand, and the doc's son chimes in and says, "Oh, he'll never learn the difference!"

Then the Doc leaves our exam room, partially shuts the door behind him, and enthusiastically tells the nurses, "Lori just read my mind!"


I visit my doctor weekly for chemotherapy treatment for metastatic breast cancer. He has been my oncologist for almost three years, and he routinely comes up with off-the-cuff comments that amuse me and my husband, Fredi, and sometimes touch us in unexpected ways. Today I started thinking that maybe others would enjoy reading them, too.

Here are some historical quotes to get this party started. All names except mine and Fredi's are changed.
You're the first patient in the world to ever get this drug regimen.

Phone call from Doctor: How are you doing today?
Me: I'm constipated, hyper and irritable.
Doc: Well, you SOUND great! [Pause] And I'm privileged to take care of you.

I was going to the hospital for sinus surgery.
Doc said, referring to my surgical team: Tell them if they kill you, I'll shoot them.

In a booming voice: I need a naked person in the exam room! 3/25/09

I can't find your liver. [Long Pause] Which is good news for you!

I was so worried about you last night that I couldn't sleep.

Me: What are the side effects of this medication?
Doc: Only one you need to worry about, but it's very rare.
Me: What is it?
Doc: Catastrophe.

Me: Does this have one have any serious side effects?
Doc: Not really. It's rare, but sometimes people go deaf.

About me: Is she sleeping? Like really sleeping? I don't want to damage her psyche.
After a reaction I had to chemotherapy that could have been fatal:
Doc: If we give this drug to you again, we'll have an endotrach tube right at hand in case we need it.
Me: When was the last time you intubated anyone?
Doc: Oh, probably about 30 years ago.
Me: If you called 911 do you think they would get here in time?
Doc: Maybe.

Via telephone on a week I wasn't scheduled for chemotherapy: So, do you want to come in and get some chemo tomorrow?

Doc: So how are you?
Me: I'm feeling okay, but I've been very, very tired lately [having been on weekly chemo for 10 months or so].
Doc: So am I, but I have a lot better reason than you to be tired.

Me: I have a lot of really painful muscle aches.
Doc: You're supposed to.

Heard around the office and/or undated:

Doctor to the Nurse Kristen: Mrs. Baffenbacher wants a spinal tap.

Mr. Reardon wants his blood drawn.

Kristen, Lori wants to be accessed.

To me: Kristen tells me you like me. I have no idea why.