- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

I now know what the most closely-guarded secret in this country is.

It’s not the codes for a nuclear weapon. It’s not the schematics for Area 51. It’s not even where Elvis is currently hiding out.

No: It’s deep vein thrombosis.

It began, like all epics, simply enough: an assignment to talk with a doctor and get a quote or two about deep vein thrombosis for an upcoming article.

Easy task, I think. Just one or two quotes, explaining what it is,

and what you can do to prevent it.

I have never been that wrong before in my life.

Left first message on Monday for the doctor. He called me back Tuesday … at 8:30 in the morning. The problem with this is that I am nowhere near work at 8:30 in the morning, but instead am fighting through traffic on the George Washington Bridge.

I call back at 9. Am asked to call back in an hour. An hour later, I am asked to call back in two hours. In two hours, I am asked to call back in four and a half hours. And after that, I’m told that, actually, the doctor cannot tell me about deep vein thrombosis until tomorrow.

Sorry, the secretary tells me.

I am ready to have a deep vein embolism.

Unfortunately, I am getting this response EVERYWHERE: with vascular surgeons, with pulmonologists, with internists.

It doesn’t matter where I call, but no one — absolutely NO ONE — will tell me anything about deep vein thrombosis.

Some say they are on vacation; others say they are busy. Others still get my name and number, but never call me back; other numbers tell me to call again later, and then tell me they are busy now.

I am getting the weird sort of vibe that it is like a state secret of some kind, which government spooks, adjusting their sunglasses and talking into their sleeves, are shushing everyone about. (For the CIA, NSA, NRA, and any other associations ending with “A”: it’s cool to talk into your sleeves. Honest. …Please don’t liquidate me.)

Apparently, from what little I can gather about this condition, in addition to it being a potentially lethal condition (God bless the Internet), it apparently is a weapon of mass destruction, a classified secret, a patented product, and an urban legend, all wrapped into one.

I am hoping to get a quote today. Unless the men talking into their sleeves come for me.

David Pepose is a member of the Class of ‘08 at Brandeis University.

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