Thursday, May 19, 2011

How to Deliver Bad News

Well, I'm happy to report that I officially DO NOT have TB.  Having spent the last 24 hours reading Medi Wiki, WebMD, and googling X-ray photos of lungs with active and latent TB, I can say unequivocally that NOT having TB is really good news.

I also do not have to call everyone I've come in contact with over the last 6 weeks and tell them that I contaminated all of them.  And considering I have a number of friends who are expecting, and I have been with my kids (and lots of other kids!!!) at school, at Girl Scouts and in countless public situations...that is a very good thing.

I am not, at least for the moment, Typhoid Andrea.

Today I had the pleasure (like stick a fork in my eye kind of pleasure) of spending over 4 hours playing musical chairs between the pulmonologist's waiting room,  examination room, and office; the radiologist's waiting room, changing room, X-ray room, and lab; and then the same thing in reverse.  I really liked the doctor...other than that he is in such high demand that one has to wait over an hour just to see him.  He had an excellent demeanor, and managed to even be somewhat funny.  So, when I finally got back into his office after over 3 hours of what can only be described as God's waiting room full of aging Chinese people dying of various lung ailments, he delivered my diagnosis like this:

Doc: (looking at my CT scan, hung up for us to study together) "Good News!  I know what's wrong with you!"

Me: silent, waiting..

Doc: (begins with first "Slice" of the scan): See, here?  Perfectly healthy lungs.
(next slice): All Clear.
(third slice) : you can see that your organs are covering parts of the lung area, but the lungs still look good.
(fourth slice) You see that little black spot here?

Me: Um...yes.  Black isn't good, is it?

Doc: Looks like a little tumor here.

Me: (??????  mouth hanging open, speechless)

Doc:  (next slice) But here, it's Huge.

Me: I have a Huge Tumor?

Doc: No, No.  It's not a tumor!

Me: (relief washing over me)

Doc: It's just a pneumonia!  About the size of a fist, from what we can see here!  Amazing.  The placement of your pneumonia made it absolutely impossible to detect.  That's really something!
(he was kind of excited, I kid you not)  I do this every day, for thirty years...and I'm not talking about being a student.  And I didn't hear it!

Me: Um.  Okay.  Well NOT a Tumor is a good thing!!  (I'm totally doing Arnold here, for the record...which was completely lost on the Doctor)  But, pneumonia?

Doc: Yes, and that is Very need *blahblahblahblahblahblahblah, prescription, prescription, prescription, prescription, sleep, confined to bed, NO exercise.  Your children, your husband and your helper need to do everything.  And if you are not significantly better within 48 hours call me at this (hands me his personal mobile phone number) number if not.  I will admit you to the hospital to go after this.

Me: (blinking...seriously, I was just still excited that I don't have a giant Tumor on my lung)  Okay.  I can do this. (then pausing to think about how I get to tell The Husband that he HAS to do everything)

Doc: Did you hear me say No exercise?  None.  Because if you don't take this seriously it will be much worse, and people DIE from pneumonia.

Me: Right.  Okay.

So, here's what I've taken away from my experience today:

1) Having Pneumonia kind of sucks.

2) If I don't do what he says, I'll probably get worse

3) Having pneumonia doesn't really suck all that bad when you compare it against having a giant black tumor on your lung

All things are, in fact, relative.

So, I'm flat on my back, watching DVR-ed episodes of Glee and Modern Family and trying not to laugh out loud because it hurts my lungs when I breathe too deeply.  But it's seriously still better than having a tumor.


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  2. Sorry about the pneumonia Andrea. :( Glad it's not TB or a tumour though.

  3. Good and Bad news. Sorry kid this one was not so funny. Get well soon Love Ya