Partner : Pass Me The Popcorn

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

A day of tests...



I get off of work and the first thing I want to do is go to the hospital. 

I don't want to wait till 2pm for my appointment with my primary care physician to be referred to a urologist. I decide I will go to the ER of the UCLA affiliated hospital that my ER doctor recommended that will accept medi-cal.

I've waited and procrastinated long enough. 

Erin forces me to eat breakfast before I go. I hear Brayden open up the back door to go outside. Nolan jumps on my lap asking to watch YouTube videos. Evie is already asking if I could push her on the swing in the backyard. Bohdan points at my computer screen and says "Hulk". 

He likes watching Hulk smash things in the Marvel movies. I'm in the mood for it too. 

I kiss Erin goodbye before I leave. I start to breakdown. Erin comforts me.

I debate whether I really want to share my venting post from my initial diagnosis. 

I share the post on Facebook before I step out the door. 

While driving I hear the encouraging chimes of Facebook notifications I'm getting on my phone from my friends. 

The E.R waiting room is ridiculously crowded. There are a lot of sick people in the room. Lots of lines. Lots of doors. Lots of filled chairs. Lots of waiting. 

I move from check-in, then to two different nurse evaluation stations. 

Both times their initial question haunts me. "When did you first notice the mass?" I shake my head no in ignorance.

I don't remember. 

I'm approved for urgent care. 

After several hours I finally see the doctor. He reads me a checklist of symptoms.

I don't have any of them. At least I don't think I do. 

He physically checks my limp nodes and body for lumps. 

All clear.

He exams the testicle. Confirms it's a mass and says he'll schedule an appointment with the urologist. 

"It's cancer. But there are alot of different kinds of cancer."

I don't think there's any good kind.

One thing is for sure. The thing is coming out. So they could send it away to be analyzed.

Good riddance. 

"Please schedule something as soon as you can. I'm freaking out."

He comes back and says the urologist will see me "within the week."

My heart drops. 

But he also states that I will get a round of tests today. Blood tests. X-Rays. Another sonogram and then a C.T. scan.  

It's more than I expected. At least today will be productive. 

I wait.

Each testing station has a waiting room. I'm constantly reminded there are a ton of other sick people in this world too. I overhear a young lady say she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

She can't be over 22.

I can't get reception in the hospital. Occasionally, it breaks through and I'm able to read some Facebook comments from my post. I'm profoundly touched whenever I read a new one. I get emotional several times throughout the day while reading.  I'm sure it looks weird. 

When I can't get reception. I look at family pics on the phone. I miss Erin and the kids. 

I watch the blood as they draw it from me into the vials. 

Are there cancer cells swimming around in there? 

The x-ray room is dark. Comically, I start to undress. And the guy tells me to keep everything on. I remember it's still unusual for people to see me naked.  He then has me contort into a weird standing position. Arms in the air. Chin up. Back straight. Chest out. Shoulders touching the platform. I'm wearing what feels like a bulletproof apron around my waist. He points the x-ray machine at me. Back and side x-rays. I hope this thing doesn't give me cancer. 

As I leave the room. I try to peek at the x-rays. Not sure what I'd be looking for. I know from watching movies that if I see black spots that's probably not a good sign. I don't see anything in the split second I peek.

When it's time for the sonogram I'm comforted by the fact that I already know the results of that test. But doubts start to creep in. What if they find more? I over-analyze everything.

He asks my favorite question. "When did you first notice the mass?"

He leaves the room for a bit. I realize I'm laying down with everything covered and only my scrotum exposed. Must be a funny sight. 

The doctor catches me in the hall. Two of your blood tests came back negative. Waiting for a third. He walks off.

Negative for what? I already know that I have cancer. I realize he means for other kinds of cancers. At least I think that's what he means.

More waiting.

It's been three hours since my last test. I'm still waiting for the C.A.T. Scan. They need to do another blood test for my kidneys to be sure it's safe to use the iodine during the test. 

The guy sharing the waiting room with me is a victim from a stabbing. Got stabbed seven times. He has a piss bag. He's having complications from the surgery. He shares that he has fluid in his lungs.

I picture one of my kids his age. How do I prevent something like that happening to one of them? What if that happens to me? What if I was ever in the wrong place at the wrong time? What would happen to my kids? 

Doctor comes over to me. The blood tests came back negative.  I ask him what that means. He tells me that they test for different levels to determine kinds of cancer. 

"So basically  it's some good news right?"  He confirms its good. 

I walk into the CT scan room and the operator is saying a prayer. Is he praying for me? That's a nice gesture. Or maybe he's just talking to himself with his eyes closed holding his hand over a book.   

I lay down on the CT scan gurney. "You might get a warm feeling from the iodine in your blood."  

Scary thoughts run through my head. 

This is likely the test that will determine if the cancer has spread. 

The voice prompts me. Take a breath....hold it....and breath. The gurney slides into the center of the circular machine ominously. I see something in the machine spinning. Is something going to come out? 

The machine focuses first on my chest, then my head, than my groin. 

The guy running the test comes in. "Raymond, What are you being tested for? What is your ailment?" I tell him about my mass in my testicle. "But no pain anywhere right?"  I confirm that is correct. 

He leaves. I think ...does that mean he didn't see anything? Maybe.... it means he saw too much. 

He does another pass on my groin. 

I ask when will I be able to discuss the results with a doctor. The nurse informs me that the urologist will go over it with me. 

"When will that be? "

Sometime in the week I should get a call. If I don't hear anything I have to call or come back to urgent care again. 

Holy. I think to myself. They might not get back to me within the week? A whole week? I'd really get lost in the system like that?  Seriously?

So...like it or not...it's the waiting game.  

I really wish I could find out the results sooner. I wish I could know what was in the results.

I'd give up my right nut to find out. 









1 comment:

Juan Aguilar said...

Holy shit, ray. Im pulling for you! Good thoughts and good vibes coming your way!