Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 8

the possibility of which alarmed me—but it was quickly In my memory of that event, I went into the machine only discounted. He said we’d just have to wait for the results to up to my chest or so, but I was told afterward that I would come in. have gone all the way in. I had to hold my breath, the scans were taken, and I was returned on my gurney to my Though my brother, Gary, and I hadn’t been getting cubicle upstairs. I thanked the orderly and never saw him along well just then, I knew instinctively that he was the again. one person I wanted to call. Not long before, he had gone through his own medical mystery—a cyst on his kidney And I waited. It seemed a long time until the doctor poked that sent him to the emergency room on Christmas—but his head in. He sat on his little round stool. that had ended well. On the phone, Gary was calm, sympathetic, pragmatic. He told me to try and relax, and “You have a mass on your colon,” he said matter-of-factly. to keep in close touch. “Do you have a hospital you like?”   So, I lay there, waiting for test results, listening to the murmurings of the patients in neighboring cubicles. I was bored and tired, and I wanted to go home to my little apartment on Roble Avenue. But I wouldn’t see my apartment again for nine days. After I had been there about three hours, the doctor reappeared. We looked each other in the eye. He told me he wanted to do a CT scan. “ I stared at him, unsure what Why did I resist? I dwelled on the potential risks of the test itself, rather than what might happen if I were actually diagnosed with cancer (a possibility that never entered my mind). “ “Uh-huh,” I said, not really knowing what that was. “I have to tell you,” he said, “this scan can cause you to get he was getting at. “Well, I had a hernia operation twenty years ago in San Mateo,” I began. “How do you feel about Stanford?” he asked. “Yes, Stanford is very good,” I said, frowning. “Are you talking about surgery?” “Oh yes,” he said emphatically. “Oh. All right.” cancer in twenty or thirty years.” I did the math quickly—at 58, I could probably roll those dice. “OK,” I replied. It was starting to sink in slowly, giving me a queasy feeling. But there was lots of time to mull and muse while I waited My calm was beginning to fray. When a nurse appeared for the ambulance to come for me. I was being taken to with a traveling cart holding six tall paper cups filled with nearby Stanford Hospital—for surgery! orange liquid, I blanched. “I need you to drink one every   fifteen minutes,” she explained. “I’ll be back in about ninety All that followed happened very quickly. It was a short ride minutes to get you ready for the scan.” to the hospital, and I was wheeled inside. Before I knew   it, I was in a bed in a hospital room. A doctor appeared— All that liquid was daunting—and I got through only four and I liked and trusted her immediately. As she explained cups. Eventually, a nice orderly arrived and wheeled my that I would be going into surgery in about 40 minutes, I gurney slowly out the door, down a long hallway, and into knew that it would turn out all right. I wasn’t fearful, which an elevator. It was very cold down in the lab where he got shocked the bejesus out of me. After a lifetime of fretting me set up for the scan. about the terrible things that could happen to me, here 8