There Are No Words – August 31st

Eyes of Another

Estimated Energy Budget – 2016: 40¢ (I’m still dealing with the long bike ride, I think.)

As noted in yesterday’s post, I messed up the days because I skipped August 30th in 2015. Today was busy enough to fill the gap.


5:00AM – Another Nightmarish Dreamscape

The last week my dreams have been more than a little disturbed, with bizarre and twisted themes that I can’t remember in the light of day. If I wrote horror stories, this stuff would be wonderful fuel for a manuscript.

7:00AM – Shocked Awake

Kathleen woke me up to make sure I’d be ready to take meet a friend at Sunnybrook. I woke with a jerk and gasp as if some monster had leapt out from behind the darkness.

Our friend, who I will refer to as A. Y. or A., was getting the results of a recent biopsy, and was – understandably – anxious. I offered to be there with her to be the second set of eyes and ears on what ever diagnosis came down the pipe.

A. has had a difficult life. Her history is filled with awful awful things that could break anyone to pieces. Spending a few weeks wondering if she had cancer on top of that was not fun for her.

When I met her at Sunnybrook she was relatively calm. So was I, but then, that was my job. She got checked in for her consult, and a few minutes later we were lead to one of the many consultation rooms – what I call holding cells. A. is a talker like my mom (I’m not telling tales behind any backs here: they are both Olympic level when it comes to telling stories). I’m happy to listen, and offer an occasional observation. Some of my observations may be hard, as I’m an evidence-based person who lives an evidence-based life. I don’t usually shove my worldview on other people, but when it comes to medicine and health I can (and have) been very blunt (on occasion). If it isn’t evidence-based I don’t want to participate in it, and I don’t want people I care about to participate in it either.

The doctor flurried in, as they all do. In my imagination their white coats are made of blizzard, swirling in through a door thrown open by the force of a chill wind.

Here is what they should say, depending on the diagnosis.

A. “Hi, I’m Dr. [NameDoesn’tMatter]. It is cancer.”

B. “Hi, I’m Dr. [NameDoesn’tMatter]. It isn’t cancer.”

Don’t start with ‘Good morning’ – it isn’t yet. Don’t ask to look at the biopsy site, or ask “How are you feeling” or say “I’m sure you want to know what the biopsy results are.” Just spit it out. I can’t hear you until you tell me what I am there to find out.

When I drop my dog Walter off to the groomer we have it down to a science. I’m in and out of there is under 30 seconds on a good day. We do this because the longer I’m in there doing the handoff the longer he has to work himself into a frenzy of anxiety over the impending torture of a haircut.

Okay, I’ve watched some Big Bang Theory since that last paragraph and calmed down a bit to return to our story already in progress.


Sorry. Let’s try that again.

Dr. NameDoesn’tMatter was nice enough. He told A. that there was nothing to worry about, that the surgery/biopsy they did a few weeks ago came back with a completely benign fibroid mass that is completely cured and that there is nothing to worry about. I wrote down the names of the stuff he told us and asked if there was anything A. should do as a follow up activity. (The answer was “no” which was very nice to hear.)

I had been prepared for anything from this super-fast “you’re all good” appointment to “we’ll do the surgery in the morning, so you’ll be staying here tonight.” I was quite relieved, though of course not nearly as relieved as A.

A. and I went out for coffee and then an early lunch at McSorley’s Tavern after that. She reminisced about her youth; she grew up and lived in that area for a long time, and it brought up a lot of very bad memories. She was kind to me – she glossed over the details in most cases, even with things where I know the horrors she had to deal with.

After an enjoyable meal in good company, I dropped her off at the subway and made my way home. I took the dogs for a walk (and played some PoGo on the way), came home, and passed out in bed for almost two hours.

Now I’m going to tidy up the kitchen a bit and go to bed. Overall it was a good day, so you get to see Walter being cute. I think I’ll be giving him some loves before the whole kitchen thing, because priorities.

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