Taking time

I’ve been taking time over the last few days.  A few playground excursions, visits, coffees, long phone calls, even a massage.  And today, a first birthday party for Alannah’s little friend Tess.

I’ve also read How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, a surgeon and staff writer for the New Yorker.  It arrived in the post on Friday and I finished it tonight.  And I’m about to take it off to bed with me for round 2.  It has helped me to clarify my underlying unease over recent weeks.  Even better, it has helped me to work out what I’m going to do to set my mind at ease.  I hope.

You see, there has been barely a pause since we first met my oral & maxillofacial surgeon Dr P.  No chance to catch our breath, to question, to debate.  Dr S referred us to him on 9 June.  Our post-haste consultation was on 10 June.  I had the MRI and CT scan on 14 June.  We met my plastic & reconstructive surgeon Dr A that same day.  On 16 June, Dr P left the fateful voicemail, followed by the family teleconference that night.  I was in hospital for the biopsy on 18 June.

Then we bunkered down and waited.  And waited.  Knowing that the time between the news, should it be bad, and the surgery may be a matter of mere days.  Suddenly the wait ended.  And the rush was on for medical paperwork before Dr P left on school holidays overseas with his four kids for two weeks.

This relentlessness has left me at the mercy of my surgeons.  This is not right for me.  I am uneasy.  I am queasy to my stomach.  The details of the biopsy report are glossed over in favour of the headline.

Yes, I know the surgeons have years of training and experience, but not on my case.  Dr P had not seen my scans at our only consultation, that meeting that left me breathless and tearful.  Dr A had not seen my scans at our only consultation and I do not know if he has seen them since.  They talked to us about the theory and about their approach.

Have they considered my case?  Have they ever questioned the diagnosis or treatment plan?  Have they asked themselves if it could be anything else or if anything doesn’t fit?

I want to slow things down.  I need to slow things down.  I am glad to have four weeks from tomorrow to ready myself and make sure that nothing has been missed in the rush.

I still have questions.  Especially after the latest biopsy report.  Reading How Doctors Think could not have come at a better time.  More tomorrow.