Procrastinations on Pathology Report

by Maggan

in Diagnosis,Pathology,Physicians,Prognosis


Friday. No news on the oncogene.  No news from Dr. Guru’s office all day Monday. Finally, I call his assistant just before closing time.

“We are waiting for your pathology report,”  she says. “Have you been to post op yet?”

“Yes, I had my ten second post-op  a week ago.”

It seems like his office should know that. Don’t they have a computer? Don’t they track their current patients? No Outlook Calendar?

“Ten seconds? Sounds normal,” she laughs. She sounds tired. Reluctantly, she puts me on hold to check for my pathology report and finds it in the in-basket.

I want Joy to read the report to me, at least the most pertinent parts, the ones about which I am on pins and needles: The oncogene and the nuclear grade parts.

“No, you will not understand it.”

Then, perhaps sensing that I am about to scream, she quickly changes her response to: “I don’t understand it.”

Of course. Does she think I was born yesterday? Is my age not on the chart? I force her to give me the high lights. She stumbles ahead: ER+, PR + (meaning that my tumor is sensitive to estrogen and progesterone. This is good news. They will respond to hormone treatments.) Lymph nodes negative. This is significant, but I already know that detail.

Dr. Guru’s assistant is clearly struggling. It is as if she is trying to interpret someone’s bad handwriting, not a computer printout.  I have “deja vu all over again.” But Joy is nicer than Dr. Morte. And she is not a doctor. Just an overworked, and probably underpaid, assistant. Out of mercy I free her from her misery.

“Please just email it to me.”

“We don’t have a scanner.”

One of the finest research institutions in the country, well in the Southeast, has no scanner?

“I can fax it to you. What’s is your fax number?”

I don’t want my pathology report to sit around our office mega fax machine for everyone to read. What if someone sees the word breast cancer and decides to swiftly transfer my job to someone with more potential?

“I will put your pathology report on his desk,” promises Dr. Guru’s assistant. “I will put it right on top so he notices it right away when he walks in tomorrow morning.”

“He will call you,”  she says. “He will call you tomorrow and explain everything.”

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