Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day Four and Day Five

Today was supposed to be the day off.

I had a few squares of chocolate, but I didn't exercise, unless you count ironing a dozen dress shirts as exercise.

The only thing on the agenda for today was to call my endocrinologist and ask how I was going to find out about my test results. The lab technician previously told me that most patients have a consult with their doctor the same day as the scan because the results are available right away, and was surprised I didn't have an appointment with my endocrinologist. I realized we hadn't even discussed getting results with the endo.

Knowing I would never get the doc on the line, I left a message for his medical assistant.

When she called back, the conversation went something like this:

"Hi, this is Mindy, I was in yesterday for a PET scan and I was wondering how I am going to find out the results of that scan."

"We will send you a letter in the mail."

"A letter? You mean to tell me if I have cancer I am going to find out in a LETTER?" (I'm also remembering that just to receive the results of bloodwork, it took three weeks.)

"If you prefer, we can make you an appointment."

"OK, that's great. Can I get in next Friday? Dr. E. should have the lab results for the blood work by then, too."

"I can't get you in on Friday. Dr. E. is booked out until the middle of April."

"April? I can't get in to find out the results of my scan until April? So, you mean I have to find out if I have cancer in a LETTER?"

"Yes, unless you prefer to make an appointment."

I thanked her and hung up. I am in shock and awe. I can't believe that a doc. who charges $500 a visit wouldn't want to see me again, even if it is just for the money!

Just to amuse myself and fight away anger, I tried to imagine what the letter would possibly be like.

Variation 1:
"Dear _______________,

We are so thankful for your business at our hospital. We enjoy the amount of money your insurance pays out on a monthly basis for all your visits and labwork. In this time of economic crisis, your money is a great economic stimulus for our office, so we can't say we feel too much regret with the recent diagnose showing your cancer has returned . Rest assured, your money is keeping us in business.

Variation 2:
Dear ____________________,

We have good news and bad news. The good news is we are now validating your $10 parking tickets for our newly built parking garage. The bad news is, that due to your recent diagnosis of cancer, you will have a lot of tickets that will need to be validated.

Variation 3:
Dear ___________________,

We are greatly embarrassed that our office is run so poorly that traumatic news, such as your recent diagnosis of cancer, has to be delivered via snail mail. If you prefer receiving such horrible news through email, please contact us through the email address provided at the bottom of the page and we will gladly update your contact information. Or, if you are totally connected, check out our Facebook, where we daily post diagnosiseseses and prognosiseseseses. Or, if you prefer, we'll Twitter you.

Variation 4:
Dear ____________________,

We are thankful to announce that your recent scan indicates that you don't have cancer. Congrats! However, the scan did reveal the location of one certain missing surgical clamp that you must have taken during your prior cancer surgery. We will have to charge you for rental for that item and personal trauma to the doctor who misplaced the item, so we expect your exorbitant bill will arrive soon.

Variation 5;
Dear ____________________,
We are pleased to announce that the result results of your PET-CT scan do not indicate the presence of cancer. However, due to your good health and coincidal drop in our county's economy, we are going to have to drop you as a patient to our clinic. You are not bringing in enough funding, so we need to concentrate more on lucrative patients, like those in Medicare and Medicaid programs, where we are allowed to charge $75 per Tylenol.

Seriously, where would they begin to find the letters they need to send out to patients? Are they from a class in med school? Instead of writing Business Letters, do they learn to write Bad News Letters and Good News Letters? Are they taught the subtle nuances a font might have in creating a better aura for receiving bad news? Are they taught that double spacing draws out the agony of the news, so keep it single-spaced?

Maybe along with a diploma and the Hypocrites Oath, they are provided with a book of letters doctors may need, so all they have to do is rubber stamp their name on the bottom.

Day Five

I really was hesitant to publish my post last night. I was so beyond the capability of deciding if my emotional reaction to the "we'll send a letter" comment was in the confines of reasonable or not, so I had to sleep on it for a day. I slept on it. I am still bothered. So, we are still praying about it.

Today I did my final step in the week-long adventure, I had to give blood one more time. It was a good feeling, in a way, to be done with the physical stuff.

But, it truly leaves me with the hardest part.

The waiting...
and waiting.....
and waiting.......
and waiting........
and waiting.........
and waiting..........

Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."

A verse shared with me today by friend, Lydia,
"He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."
Psalm 122:7. am

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