Friday, April 27, 2012

Tell It Like It Is. PLEASE.

I really appreciate doctors. I do. I appreciate all the time they've spent learning about the human body, the history of medicine, every possible thing that could be wrong with us, and how to treat it. I appreciate everything technicians and nurses learn and do as well. I couldn't complain about anything.
Well, maybe one thing.

Last week I had myself a little health scare. Lovely symptoms that sounded an awful lot like uterine cancer. I'm sure by now you know I'm the type of person who handles news like that calmly. Collectedly. And with what could probably be described as a massive "body-attack." The whole me was shaking like a leaf and generally having an emotional seizure. But I kept it largely inside. I have kids. The minute I rocked their little worlds by saying I might have a health issue, all of their eyes went round like dinner plates, their mouths became tiny  o's, they stopped blinking, and I realized I was going to have to be Captain Positive.

Which would have been a lot easier if my medical side-kicks had been a bit more cooperative. I'll tell you what I mean.

I'm lying on the exam table (GUY ALERT: I'M GOING TO SAY THINGS LIKE "PELVIC" AND "ULTRASOUND." YOU MAY WANT TO AVERT YOUR EYES AND COMMENCE DOING  MANLY THINGS LIKE BULL RIDING) for the pelvic ultrasound (SKEET SHOOTING, BEAR HUNTING), when the technician starts saying things like, "Oh my. Hmmm. I can't quite tell . . . well that's interesting. Sure are a lot of them."

"Wait. Them? What them? A lot of what thems?"
"Oh, I'm afraid I can't say anything. See that sign?" (Points to sign by door which says "Our Technicians Are not Allowed To Say Anything To you Because You Might Sue Us If They Get It Wrong. The Radiologist Will Read Your Results and Relay Them To Your Doctor By The Next Equinox. So Stop Asking.")
"Oh. Okaaaay. But I wouldn't sue. That's not what I'm like."
"Hmmm. I'd better measure that."
"What?! Measure WHAT?"
"And that's hardly there at all. Unusual."

And finally at the end of it all: "Well, that's it. Our radiologist will wait four days to tell your doctor what he finds, then after your doctor has finished golfing he'll call you. Probably. You can gather your things. Don't forget your adrenal glands. They've rolled under the table there. Bye."

Then there's the wait. Four days, including a weekend during which I must spend the entire time smiling like a lunatic to reassure my children, while on the inside I am picking out the flowers for my funeral and deciding which hors d'oeuvres to start with after the eulogy.

Monday rolls around and I never hear from the doctor. So I call. And the conversation goes like this:

"Hello. This is Janiel Miller. I'm calling for the results of my pelvic ultrasound (BOWIE KNIFE. THE HURT LOCKER)"
"Oh I'm sorry Mrs. Miller. The doctor isn't in today. You'll have to call back tomorrow."
"Oh. Okay. Can you tell me anything?"
"Well, it looks like you have multiple subserosal fibroid growths located on the myometrium, and we can't rule out the possibility of leiomyosarcoma, but on the other hand many of these can be benign. Okay? We'll have the doctor call you."
"Wait! I didn't understand that."
*Nurse emits sigh then repeats entire paragraph word for word.* "So, we'll have the doctor call you, okay?"
"Um, no. It's not okay. I know that was in English and everything but I have no idea what you just said."
*Speaking slowly like I am a four year-old alien with learning disabilities* "We'll evaluate your particular symptoms against these results and let you know. Goodbye now."

Oh, well. That was so much better.

Needless to say by the next morning my smile was fixed, my eyes glassy, my kids were looking at me nervously as I waved them off to school, and I had moved on to the post-funeral luncheon menu.

So imagine my shock when I finally got a call that afternoon and a perky nurse announced: "Well, Mrs. Miller. The doctor says that your uterus (BRAZILLIAN STREET FIGHTING) looks fantastic! The endometrial lining (HOCKEY) looks terrific, and those pesky little fibroids are nothing to worry about and will probably disappear during menopause (PORSCHE 911 PLUS A CAMERO). Have a nice day!"

Well YOU HAVE A FREAKING NICE DAY TOO, LADY!  Me? I'm going to go fall face-first into a vat of pineapple-coconut frozen yogurt and day-dream about being the medical profession's broker. The next time the economy tanks and they want to know how their money is doing? I'll just smile, say "Oh my. How strange." Then I'll point to a sign on my wall.



Robin said...

Yeah. That last paragraph.

You know, a tactfully worded letter to your medical practice might be apropos. It's not OK that the techs do that.

Cassidy Wadsworth said...

That's nerve-wracking. So glad you're ok!

Janiel Miller said...

Thanks Cassidy! Me too.
Rob - Not a bad idea. Although in the tech's defense I don't even think she knew she was murmuring. I did feel like the Nurse was a bit, er, clueless as she rattled all of that off at me. Sigh. I think they see so many patients it's easy to forget they're people.

Shelly Craghead said...

I hear ya Janiel!!! Going on 4 years of that. The doctors kept telling me my symptoms were caused by anxiety and now they know they aren't. Thank goodness for my new NP (love her!!!)I keep telling my husband "I didn't have anxiety before...but I sure do now!!!"

Maegan Langer said...

Oh my gosh - how scary! I'm so glad everything's okay. This post was hilarious. Laughter is the best therapy, innit?

Janiel Miller said...

Shelly - SO glad you finally found a good NP. *whew* I love NP's. I've had the best luck with them.

Maegan - Thanks, chickie. I'm glad it's okay too. And you've gotta laugh, right? It's the only way to live.

William Kendall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janiel Miller said...

Ack! William! I accidentally deleted your comment! Thought I was publishing it, but it was already published. Clearly I need to go to bed. I liked your idea of mute technicians. So, if you read this, I am officially requesting that you repost your comment so others can read it too.

Either way, thanks for commenting! We appreciate your most excellent support here. :)

Russo said...

I can't even imagine, I would have been a nervous wreck and yet you stayed stoic and strong. You are incredible. I hope you know just how incredible you are- love you, girl.