Monday, December 22, 2008

Losing the Waiting Game

As I stood in the changing room putting on my posh hospital gown I looked and felt as if I would faint.  7 years a survivor and I was still feeling like someone in a lineup waiting for the verdict.  I guess I was waiting for someone to tell me I am ok since I have yet to figure out how to tell it to myself.  Lou and I were amazed at how many people were in the waiting room with stressed out looking family members watching them down gallons of radioactive liquids, holding hands, and wishing they were anywhere but there.  

While I took a seat in my own special waiting room amongst all the older women my hands felt cold and clammy.  I dodged the stares of those women looking at me wondering what someone so young was doing in their domain.  I couldn't help but wonder that myself.  I wished I had the answer.  I wanted to tell them my story.  Hell,  I really just wanted to go home. 

I heard them call my name.  I was up at the plate but it wasn't any fun.  When I walked into the room there was a sickly runny nosed mammo tech coming at me who should have been home instead of spreading germs throughout the cancer hospital she was working in.  And then I got my only good boob smashed between 2 plates and dam did it hurt!  After she was done I was sent back out to the waiting room still in my gown to begin the waiting game.  It was practically standing room only in there which is scary in itself, a stark reminder of just how many have been affected by cancer.  So as I sat and waited I watched woman after woman getting called in for the mammo and then not long after leaving with the results, that three fold beige paper holding their fate.    I could tell by the smiles that the "Normal" box must have been checked off.  I on the other hand sat, sweaty, panicked trying to figure out how to calm my racing heart wondering how bad mine must have been since I was still there. 

Finally, someone called my name  except this time it was someone to usher me off to my doc appointment.  As I stood up I felt nearly faint figuring for sure it was bad news.  Trying not to let my knees buckle under me I sat up on the table in her examination room ready to pounce on her the second she opened the door in my panicked rage.  She came in with a smile as always as I began to ramble on about my results or lack there of.  She quickly headed over to the radiologist office where I had just come from hoping to solve the mystery.  I was in a cold sweat. Luckily shortly after, my doc had returned with good news.  A normal mammo.  The radiologist just had not looked at mine yet.

 I wondered if the staff would treat their jobs differently had they been patients themselves.  All we have to do is sit and wait.  Wait and watch.  Noticing each person who went before you and how long they wait to find out.  There is no order.  No order breeds chaos, at least in my head it does.  

I will never get used to the waiting game.  It is painful, stressful, and there is no way around it. Although I believe if there were more empathetic people that could make a difference. 

How do you deal with the waiting game?  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I try my best to distract myself. Magazines, ipod, discussing some event I have planned for afterward. It helps a little. I get angry sometimes seeing all the cotton tops and retirees. They look at me like I'm lost!