Friday, May 22, 2015

The Wait is (finally) Over

Conclusion to I HateWaiting

I cannot tell you how many times I checked the phone in fear I’d missed a call before bed that night. Television, in its myriad offerings, did nothing to alleviate the tension. Every ache, pain, creak or pop of a joint made me wonder, is that what the beginnings of bone cancer would feel like? I’m in my fifties. Almost every move produces a creak or pop.

I did not burden my family with my persistent, inward fears. A vivid imagination can be a real curse, and I have that in spades. Until something concrete could be discussed, this would remain my own nightmare.

Sleep came only with the help of a previously prescribed pill. I still woke up at 6:30.
The clock ticked by to noon the next day. As my husband and I were having lunch, he asked what I wanted to do. In reality, there were only three options we could think of.

A)    Call the doctor’s office (for the first time today, sixth day since the test)
B)     Go to the office and camp out in the waiting room until she could see me
C)     Go get the results from the hospital, and demand my doctor explain what is sure to be Greek terminology to me.

We discussed the various outcomes of each choice. For option A, I would just annoy whomever had to speak with me. With B, I might find myself being ushered out the door at 5pm. The final option held the most appeal. While the results were certain to be in medical language beyond this layman, there were a few medical professionals in my life who might be able to interpret the hieroglyphics.

After my husband returned to work, I headed for the hospital to get my results. At the service desk of the radiology department was a notification taped to the window. “All requests for copies of reports and/or images must be made 24 hours in advance.”


I decided, since I was there, I’d go ahead and begin the 24 hour process. When the clerk came to assist me, I recognized the voice as the woman I’d spoken to the previous day. Friendly, funny, and quite disarming, she chatted with me regarding hospital procedures and the reasons why they are what they are, all the while flitting back and forth from one keyboard and monitor to the next, presumably preforming her required tasks, and trying to avoid a possibly irate patient.

She made me laugh a number of times over the ridiculousness of a system that would keep the information from the one person who truly needs to know.

A few forms were printed out and I dutifully signed where indicated. She said “last one” and handed me a clipboard with a three-part paper to authorize the request. After signing, I checked my watch, and, without looking up, said, “So, they should be ready for pick up around two tomorrow?”

“Or, you could take them now.” Looking up, I saw she held a small manila envelope, and a smile. “God bless you, child,” she said, turning back to her monitors.

I left with a lump in my throat. Was she trying to lift my spirits, in the face of a death sentence? Did she mean that as a final goodbye? Damn my vivid imagination!

Out in the parking lot, I sat in my car and opened the envelope. Where the expected copies of a scribbled doctor’s notes should have been, there was a CD and an easy-to-read report. In plain English.

It reiterated the incident of the fall, then noted a “boney lesion” on the left iliac crest. After that, each line item read: Negative
The conclusion line read: “Normal bone scan”.

Never have I read such a lovely set of words.

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