raignment, our first flight north, we’d hoped to get him out on bail, but
the court declined to lower it from $500,000. We needed it dropped to
$100,000 so our ten percent to the bail bondsman would be something
we could squeeze out of our retirees’ budget. A lawyer friend told us those
who make bail receive lighter sentences on average. Studies agreed. But
before the judge would rule, he wanted more information about ankle
bracelet monitoring, about employment Mike might find, about how he
could productively spend his time in this small community he did not
know, or even in Fairbanks or Anchorage, should that be granted, about
his potential danger to others. Mike refused to be evaluated by a shrink.
By anyone. “Pseudoscience,” he said. He stayed put.
After that second visit to Dr. Dejean in his Turquoise Lake examining
room, I rode the elevator down with a gray-haired, one-legged African
American man in a wheelchair. I asked, “How you doing?” and he said,
“Great.” With a wink. Dimples in his crosshatched cheeks.
“Ditto,” I said.
True, at least for my prostate: as in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Or
the Great Wall of China. Both of which Susie and I had visited once the
kids left home. Or a great white shark. Which I had never seen on our
scuba vacations, thank you very much. Or a great white whale. Don’t
go there. Let’s just say my prostate was prodigious, 180 grams, to be exact. Once a resident at the University of Kansas Hospital told me with
a kind of reverence that mine was the biggest he’d seen. That was after
my second biopsy. “Comprehensive,” the doctor said, general anesthetic
and all, “no stone unturned this time out,” forty needles hammered up
my knocked-out ass. The first, more modest, done in my doctor’s office
in Manhattan, Kansas, had led to sepsis, landed me in isolation for five
days, my maiden trip to the University of Kansas Hospital. The doctors and nurses wore hazmat suits. I nearly died. All that because what
should be my puny goddamn male gland that floods sperm into the great
beyond—the average described as “walnut size”— was now three-fifths
the volume of my heart. And jacking up my PSA. PSA—the protein that
when elevated in a man’s blood may indicate cancer. Underscore may.
None they could detect in me, but my PSA continued its climb. Nah to
biopsy number three. I hightailed it north to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
My urologist there said, “Enough’s enough, no more chasing PSA,” and
shot a “definitive” MRI. All clear. To a point. After a lifetime of service