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Oncologist Follow-up

Posted Sep 07 2008 8:10pm

The visit today was uneventful. My CA-125 result wasn't back yet, so I will get it next week when I go in to pick up the letter referring me to the gynaecologist-oncologist of my choice at my chosen hospital in New City. I discussed my appointments of the last few months with my oncologist (the failure to get my bone-density tested, my geneticists opinion against having a mammogram done, my clear ultrasound and pap test), and then took care of some paperwork. I had to sign a release for my medical records, at least the relevant ones, so my new (again!) oncologist will know just who and what they are dealing with. Went down to medical records where I was informed that the hospital generously provided the first 30 pages for free, but after that they were 31 cents a page. 31 cents! I have somewhere between 300 and 500 pages of medical records! Fortunately I only have to get copies of relevant information such as pathology, most recent blood test results, bone density results, CT and ultrasound results. But if I had to send them every single page of notes from chemo, and admission, and ER visits, and blood tests, I would be, well, broke (not that it would take much for me to go broke these days). 31 cents a page. I am still reeling over that.

I got a little sad tying up those loose ends today. That hospital has become, perversely, somewhat home-like. I am comfortable there; I know the staff, the smells and sounds are familiar, I know how to guide myself through the corridors, I know where to find juice or coffee or crackers or cookies. My visits there are routine, and thus easy to handle. Going into a new hospital will frighten the panties off me. The doctors and nurses will be at least 100 times larger, the hallways longer, the lights brighter, and the alcohol smell sharper. The reception staff won't remember what it is I studied in school, how long ago I was diagnosed, what sandwich makes me cry*, or what colour my hair was before it fell out. I won't be able to impress other patients by my ability to find the power button on the TV even though the word "power" has been rubbed right off . What if there isn't even a TV?

The worst thing about switching hospitals and doctors is that I will have to go through my history again, and that is something that never fails to make me cry (so long as it is in front of medical professionals. I try to avoid doing that in front of regular folk, as they tend to look at me like I have a third eye anyway when I talk about my cancer days; at least doctors are used to it). And when I cry, my nose goes all red, and the nurses and doctors get all sympathetic which makes me cry even harder, and then I have to walk through other patients who are actually going through a much harder time than I am who then think things are bad for me, and feel sorry for me, and I end up feeling like crap for dwelling on what has past when I should be happy for my present. But then I shouldn't neurotically worry about a hypothetical visit 3 months down the road. Because, hey, you never know, I might be so over this cancer thing then. Right? Right?

Anyway, thanks for the well wishes with the visit today. It gives me more support than you could ever know.

* The sandwich that makes me cry? An ungrilled cheese sandwich (when I specifically asked for grilled). Sobbed like a drunk when that happened.

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