Susan and I spent eight hours at the doctor yesterday. And to my amazement, I am not at all resentful. That’s probably because Susan only spent probably an hour or so in the waiting room (I spent considerably more time in the waiting room, but that’s fine — my job is to drive, listen, and ask questions).
The rest of the time, she was either being scanned, having scans read, or talking with the bone cancer surgeon. (Note to people who like details: Susan doesn’t have bone cancer, but since the cancer has metastasized to her bones and we’re looking at surgery, this surgeon was still a good person to talk with.)
Here’s how the day played out. I’m not going to go into details about how long each part took, because I don’t remember. All I can say is that this list covers what happened from 11am to 7pm.
- We drive to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. We talk about how all our “together time” is spent driving to and from doctors. We also stop at the new Barbacoa grill close to where we live. Now we have an alternative to Wendy’s and Subways, and it’s a place I really like. Yay! I’ll be fatter soon!
- We arrive at the Huntsman Cancer Institute 15 minutes early — traffic was light and finding a parking spot was easy — and sign in.
- They take Susan away to go do X-Rays.
- I watch an episode from Dexter: Season 2 on my iPhone.
- Susan comes back. She reads her Kindle, I watch my iPhone. We both put on signs that say “Geek.”
- They bring us into a room.
- I go back to watching, Susan goes back to reading. We both know that being in a room doesn’t mean the waiting’s over.
- The doctor comes in. We give him the discs for CT scan, the bone scan, and the MRI we got last week. He says he’ll be back in half an hour or so; it takes a while to download these.
- We go back to watching / reading. I’m very glad I have five episodes on my phone.
- We stop watching / reading and start talking about whether we can cope with another hip surgery.
- The doctor comes back in. He says we have three options: 1. We can just do radiation. 2. We can carve out some of the bad stuff in her hip and replace it with high-tech surgical bondo. 3. We can do a complete hip replacement. He says he leans toward option 1, because it doesn’t look like Susan’s hip is in immediate danger of breaking. We both suddenly feel much, much better about the day.
- The doctor sends us over to another building to get a CT scan of Susan’s hip. Then he wants us to come back so we can make a decision about what to do immediately. The same day. Is this some kind of crazy alternate universe where patients come first?
- We drive the mile over to where Susan’s getting her scan. It’s non-contrasted, because the doctor doesn’t want to see what the tumors look like this time; he wants to see what the bone structure that remains looks like.
- They take her back immediately. No wait. At all. Seriously, is this the Twilight Zone?
- Five minutes later, she’s out. I didn’t even have time to get my iPhone out and start watching a show.
- We go back to the doctor and wait while he reads the CT scan results. I am now on my third episode of Dexter for the day. They should give everyone who is going to spend a lot of their lives in doctors offices iPhones and a big ol’ credit on iTunes.
- The doctor shows us the CT scans on a big computer monitor. They mean nothing to me. Rorschach blots. But the doctor says they confirm what he thought: surgery isn’t necessary at this time. We should start Susan on radiation on the hip — breast cancer is generally very responsive to radiation — and come back in three months if things get worse, or in six months if things get better.
- We go home. Relieved. Big time.
So: radiation, not surgery. It’s funny how your metric for what constitutes good news changes: “Oh boy! You have to go get heavy doses of radiation every day for four or five weeks to shrink the cancerous tumor in your hip!”
But compared to another hip replacement: you bet it’s good news. Great news, in fact.
PS: Tomorrow, more pre-TdF shenanigans.