As I am riding along to Pittsburgh, I begin to wonder what was going to happen at the doctor's office. I envision the painfully long wait in the lobby. The overpowering smell of disinfectant clouding my mind as I fill out form after form until my hands feel like they're going numb. The poking and prodding of the doctor, and his assistants, the demons inside a cold pungent room, assaulting me with needles, while chatting away vicariously. The short dark man spouting off words in foreign tongue. The assistants nod, turn and wrap ungodly things around my arms, making them feel as if they're about to shatter under the intense pressure.
Apparently my rambling thoughts make me look as if I am going to cry. My son asks me if I'm ok?
Of course, I can't let him know what I'm thinking about, so I respond, "I am fine."
When my wife, son and I get there, we are rushed along the corridors, until finally we arrive at the doctor's office. As I walk through the door, the ominous scent of disinfectant and the white barren walls hit my senses first. I walk up to the desk to tell the secretary, Rhonda, all the needed information; my name, what insurance this appointment is to be put on, you know, that whole deal. Rhonda responds with the five-million-page questionnaire, as I assumed, and tells me to go sit down, fill it out and someone will be right with me.
I take a seat and begin the rigorous work giving information about my health, my habits, and all that personal stuff, and return the completed packet to the desk.
Rhonda tells me it shouldn't be more than a half hour or so until the doctor will see me.
I think to myself, Great and so begins the waiting, and worrying.
I return to my seat and my wife and son; god only knows what they're thinking. I can't sit still, so I tell them, "I need to go have a cigarette," politely excuse myself, and walk out the doors into the cold office complex. The thick smoke feels good as I take a drag. Oh, how I needed some type of relaxation. When the cigarette is done I smash it against a wall and walk back inside.
My wife smiles at me with one of her fake smiles; god how I hate that. I know she's just trying to cheer me up. It takes another fifteen minutes of fidgeting to get called back to the room. Finally, I think to myself, I can get this stuff over with.
When I walk back into the room, it smells as if no one has ever been in there and my presence, alone, takes the purity out of it.
The doctor walks in all smug, pulls the chart off the wall, sits down and starts asking the impersonal bullshit as he looks over my chart.
"How are you? What did your doctor tell you about the situation?"
I tell him all I know.
He promptly remarks, "I think you should get a CAT Scan for me immediately. These test results that you've received are a bit inconclusive so we should definitely do some more testing. Today preferably."
He sets me up with the hospital and I proceed to get the tests done.
When I return to the office, a little later that day, Rhonda greets me again and tells me to have a seat and wait. Once again he pulls me back into the white-washed, sterile room, pulls the folder out and tells me the results. His Armageddon words cripple my ears. I break down and cry. The results conclude I have cancer. It is end-stage. He gives me less then six months to live.
When I return outside, completely recollected, my wife and son look at me with their big starry eyes, and they both ask me what the doctors found?
I replied, "They found nothing out of the ordinary."
© 2001 Robert Kedanis, all rights reserved
appears here by permission