“These tests aren’t for you, they’re for me,” Dr. M explained. “We’ll do them all now, so I can use them to reassure you for the next 20 years.”
Summer always seems to begin with some type of medical melodrama, and ’07 would be no exception.
Last summer, skin cancer struck violently in the course of a single afternoon. A legion was discovered, and all of my moles grew exponentially in circumference and darkened ominously. Fortunately, Dr M had an immediate opening and well-trained nurse who removed the embedded tick that was masquerading as a melanoma.
Prior to that was the summer of The Cough, preceded by the summer of the glandular tumor and that of the broken toes—you get the picture.
This summer, either colon or ovarian cancer—or perhaps both—brought on abdominal pain that mysteriously worsened the more I thought about the possibility—yea, even the likelihood—of canceling our trip for major surgery.
Every so often my husband makes me see Dr. M so he can “talk me down,” as Dr. M has proven adept in his ability to reason with me without the panic-inducing jargon of his predecessors. We’ve had to let so many go over the years, most notably the ENT who announced that my plugged ear “could be a tumor, cancer, or worse.”
Nice. Even a normal patient would be hard pressed to carry on in the face of such a prognosis. But a hypochondriac? He’s just lucky my husband didn’t sue for pain and suffering—his, not mine.
On the contrary, Dr. M repeats mantras such as, “This is not a time to worry. If there ever is a time to worry, I will tell you and we will worry together.”
This time, he wanted to ease his pain and suffering with tests, but I’m not comfortable with things that are “Pending.” Tests that can be done in the office are fine. Anything else is Pending—which is the same as Looming. And everyone knows that Looming is ominous.
But Dr. M said this wasn’t a time to worry, and I think that’s all I really needed to hear. I stopped worrying, and my stomach feels fine. Which is good for me, but not for Dr. M. The tests aren’t happening, which will probably make his job a whole lot harder down the road.