A couple of weeks ago, I went to have an MRI on my shoulder. It is important that you understand that I was going for an MRI on my SHOULDER.
The GP clinic that I go to has a service that takes you in their car to the hospital that will preform the scan which is very nice indeed. So, I was going out to the hospital and then coming back to talk to my GP. Or so I thought.
“So, you have an appointment with the pulmonary doctor at ten?” The nurse who was accompanying me asked.
“No,” I responded and looked at her questioningly. Perhaps the had the wrong patient, it wasn’t an outlandish possibility. “No, I am seeing my doctor at the clinic after this.”
“We called you and made the appointment,” the nurse was equally puzzled.
“Yes, for me to see my GP after I had the scan,” I had a sneaky suspicion at that moment that my day was about to get interesting.
“Oh,” the nurse looked at my notes and then at me again.
“Maybe you could call the clinic and find out?”
“I could call the clinic and find out,” the nurse agreed and did so. “Please talk to the doctor, she held the phone out to me after some discussion with what seemed like a number of people.
“Hello?” the doctor asked. “This is nothing to worry about, a small mistake. I want you to see the pulmonary doctor because I want her to evaluate you,” by this point I could feel my brain seizing up. “I found some irregularities on the CT scan (also for my SHOULDER) and would like for her to screen you. This is nothing to worry about, ok?”
Well, at that point I had no idea what I was hearing. This is not the surprise you want to hear while en route to a hospital to see a doctor you don’t know about a condition that you had no idea about. What was wrong with my lungs? I was here for my shoulder!
We arrived at the hospital fifteen minutes in advance of my MRI appointment. I still have not had that MRI. The appointment with the doctor was at 10. I needed to leave the hospital by 10:30 to get back to work and take my classes. If I wasn’t going to be able to make it I would have to call in lesson plans for a cover teacher to take. Not ideal. So, by a quarter to 10, I was getting a bit antsy.
“How far away is the doctor?” I asked the nurse at 5 to 10.
“Five, six minutes walk,” she said without any concern at all.
“So we should go now?” I asked in a manner that was more of a strong suggestion.
“I want to see if we can get you in to the MRI,” she explained.
“The MRI is going to take more than 5 mimutes, the appointment with the doctor is in 5 minutes and you tell me it is five minutes walk from here. Shouldn’t we go there now?”
“Oh, ok. I will just go and get a copy of your CT scan for the doctor,” she said and went off somewhere.
I was baffled. If I was here to see the doctor about the findings of the CT scan, why didn’t the doctor, or at very least, the nurse have a copy of that already. Also, I had been sitting for 40 minutes and during that entire time, the nurse didn’t get a copy of the CT scan.
She came back empty handed and said that the scan would be sent over and shepherded me off to the doctor.
My first encounter with this doctor was this: she was standing in the middle of hallway, surrounded by several people and she was holding up an X-ray of some poor person’s chest and talking about it, loudly, to all these people standing about and the extras who joined the group to enjoy the show. My Western sensibilities went into asphyxiation.
Anyway, she finally finished show and tell and took me to what I thought was her office. She opened the door on a man and his doctor in full examination mode. I was mortified and horrified.
We found an empty office and I discovered that the specialist did not speak English. I discovered this because she sat on her side of the desk and smiled at me and did nothing else.
“What is going on?” I asked the nurse.
“We are waiting for the CT scan to get here.”
And wait we did for a full five minutes. Eventually it arrived and the specialist began examining it, clicking through very thoroughly it sounded like.
“There is a problem with your lungs,” the nurse announced.
“What?” was all I could manage, and a couple of blinks.
“Yes, there is a problem,” and then she started to talking to the doctor again. They talked and talked and talked.
“What is this problem?” I asked, a little bit more worried.
There was no answer, they kept conferring and pointing to the screen and nodding and talking.
“Is this dangerous?” I asked with some degree of panic. I had no idea what was going on here.
“No not dangerous,” said the nurse and then she turned back to the doctor, said a few things, the doctor said something to her and then she turned back to me. “Yes, dangerous,” she amended without preamble. “70% chance of dying.”
You might imagine the shock and disbelief and hilarity and sheer confusion I went into. I tried to ask questions but no more answers were forthcoming. They had things to say, just not to me. So, with all the dignity I could muster, which was not very much by this stage, I decided to leave and had to swear the door open because where I though it opened inward, it opened outward into the corridor full of people. Yet another moment of totally not understanding the logic and being baffled. Beguiled – sometimes. Baffled – constant state.
When I got back to work and was able to tell this story and find the humour in it, a colleague suggested that I look on the bright side. Everybody is going to die. I only have 70% chance of dying which means I have 30% chance to immortality.
As for my lungs, they are fine.