The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Several parts of my morning are missing. Have you seen them?

This text message I received in the middle of the afternoon on Monday. I had escorted a dear friend to her very first colonoscopy (which was given the "all clear - see you in ten years"). This was a first for me, too. You know, the part where you go with the patient and basically sit in the waiting room for 90 minutes while the parts below the patient's belt are made visible by way of modern optimal technology and some middling goods chemicals (versed and fentanyl).

Well, it's not all that exciting until the patient (dear friend that she is) comes out of the recovery area looking ashen and ready to hurl into one of those plastic drawstring clothing bags. We are escorted down to the van, where the escort then says "if you don't feel ready to go home, we can go back up to the recovery room." My silent glare was accompanied by a "no, I'd rather go home," so we managed to leave the hospital. I was instructed "this had better be the smoothest ride you have ever driven."

Fast-forward several minutes and we are inside the house, slowly walking upstairs to the bedroom, and I am asked "Am I clear?" I quickly respond, "Yes, everything is fine. The doctor wants to see you again in ten years." Finally into bed, my hungry patient says she wants some tea and toast, which I go to start. I come back and she asks for the pictures of the results, which I hand to her and again answer the "Am I clear" question. I receive instructions on who to immediately text (close family, by name). But before I even go to retrieve the toast and steeped tea, I am once again asked "Am I clear?" Uhhh... yes, still clear.

Tea and toast are delivered to the bedstand. She asks to see the pictures again, and I say that I gave them to her. "No, you didn't." OK - now the search is on. I walk around the room, I look in the kitchen and office (all places I might have wandered to and set the pictures down). Nope, they are on the floor under the bed, where they must have slid after falling out of her hand. I get her a small bowl, since she is still feeling puke-y, and the kitten promptly curls up in it and plays with its tail.

I need to go to work, so I get changed and head toward the door. She says thanks, and asks, "Am I clear?"

"Yes. Do you remember that you have asked me that exact question four times?"

"Yes, but what is the answer?"

"All clear - see you in ten years." This is the diagnosis that everyone wants to hear. We are thankful, and cold toast is very tasty (or so I am told!)


Anonymous said...

so glad that all is clear and thanks to you for taking such good care of your friend....hugs!!

Anne B. said...

Very funny story, Ed.

I think I know your dear friend. She has to be the one who, years ago when she was coming to from oral surgery, let loose a volley of abuse on the surgeon, the nurses, the worried parents, even total strangers in the waiting room. It was a performance worthy of an Oscar, a true Joan Crawford moment. Only after exhausting her well stocked vocabulary, did she pause to throw up. Then she looked wide-eyed around the waiting room and asked, "Where am I?"

Mikey said...

Love this story, Ed. Just that fact that you described an experience where your dear friend was not in control made me laugh. She's most often in total control and to hear her repeat things and not know where she is makes me feel better about myself. :)