Saturday, March 04, 2006


Eventually I won't be able to eat sushi for awhile. (Compromised immune system and all that.) Even though that is months from now, the very prospect has me craving sushi. Last night we went to our local sushi restaurant. About three years ago, they started having fugu in season. Fugu is a fish that contains lethal amounts of tetradoxin in some of its organs. If it is improperly prepared, it can kill you. More people die each year from food poisoning from hot dogs, but there isn't a lot of poetry in the consumption of hot dogs.

I tried fugu three years ago--two pieces of nigiri sushi. If you eat the liver, apparently your lips and tongue tingle, but that's also where most of the risk is. Restaurants can't sell the liver. The fugu I had was firm, white, and rather bland. It cost $9.00 for bragging rights. Bob watched and offered to call 911 if I fell over paralyzed.

Fall and winter is fugu season, since the fish fatten up, so our restaurant is serving it again. We were sitting at the sushi bar last night and next to us was a guy having sushi with his daughter and her fiance. A discussion arose about fugu, with the woman next to him declaring she had no interest. I was happy to volunteer that I had tried it and survived. Over the course of our dinner we learned a lot about the guy having sushi. He explained to his future son-in-law that his house was Southwestern in style. He has a Hummer golf cart. He had initially said that he didn't think he was going to have fugu.

The owner of the restaurant is a Japanese woman that Bob and I privately refer to as 'How-war-ya' for her greeting. She asked him if he was going to try it and when he asked if it could really kill you, she said yes, they required that anyone who tried it had life insurance. She confided that this was the last year she would have it, because most of her restaurant clients who wanted to try it had. "It's $180 a pound," she explained. "And it's a small fish. Once you cut away the bones and everything, there isn't much there."

That did it. $180 a pound wholesale was too much for the guy having sushi. He had to try it.

He didn't die.


Monday I have my biopsy and get a port implanted in my chest. The port is a little chamber that is just under the skin with a line into a blood vessel. The point is that they will no longer have to search for a vein to give me chemo. The surgeon who will implant the port wasn't sure we should do it before the biopsy, since there is a very small chance that the biopsy will show that I don't have Hodgkins. But then he realized that even if I don't have Hodgkins, they're going to want to deal with whatever is going on. I'm glad because I have to go under general anesthesia for the biopsy, and this way it's only one procedure instead of two. It's outpatient. I go in the morning and should be home by mid day.

Unfortunately both procedures are so minimal I won't need much in the way of painkillers afterwards. So I'll be stuck with Tylenol. Maybe I should send Bob out for fugu afterwards.


Blogger Ruby said...

Oh Maureen! I have been out of the loop. I just heard the news. Bah humbug, Hodgkins!!

Unsolicited two cents about the port... Doctors are generally male. Males don't have much trouble from the port. Women, on the other hand, women have these two large objects hanging from their chest, and the one of these objects on the port side pulls. And it hurts. Don't let them tell you its just a tylonol operation if you are bigger than a B cup. I walked around for a week wearing the super duty running bra (Enell, more than a sports bra) and still had to carry myself upstairs.

March 05, 2006 4:48 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Ruby, thanks! I'm pretty flat chested, thank God. (Now there's a sentence you don't see often.) The doctor wanted to put the port on my left side because I'm right handed, but I remember somebody saying they slept on the side their port was in, and it was uncomfortable. I sleep sort of on my left side so I asked him to put it in my right side.

But I will be aware of the possibility And I thank you for the warning, Ruby. How's married life?

March 05, 2006 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discussion of fugu brought to mind a piece I recently came across, about camel liver sashimi. Tempting as it sounds, beware: you can get bubonic plague! There is some cachet in coming down with the plague without having been bitten by a flea, but on the whole it's probably not worth it.

Good luck with the noisome procedure today.

March 06, 2006 7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All my ports/central lines were put in my upper chest, above my breasts. I loved having ports in, particularly when I needed potassium. You can't feel it in a port.

(I turned out to be anatomically weird in my chest when I had the first one, so there's a note in my chart that only Kaiser surgeons install them, no residents.)

March 08, 2006 7:52 PM  
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^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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March 24, 2009 1:59 AM  

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