Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Panic at the VA

Alright, now that it's all over, I can share what happened to me today. As you all know, I'm at the VA. It was for my annual boob-squeeze.... But let me back up a little...

I barely slept last night because I was worried about over sleeping and missing my appointment, because it took me months to get it.
I got up at 7am, drove in a sleepy haze, the hour-plus through Jacksonville traffic (had a VERY close call with another car), and arrived here by 8:30.
Because I have been so sick lately, I decided that while at the VA, I would attempt to get an appointment with sick call, before my mammogram. When I spoke with them, they said that my regular doctor had to refer me to them. So I called my regular doctor's office and asked if they could just give me a prescription over the phone for antibiotics for this sinus infection.
The nurse called me back and said she put me in to go to sick call. I have to be seen in person, in order to get antibiotics. So, I walked back over to that desk, they saw nothing from my nurse in the computer, but still made every attempt to squeeze me in at 11am, so I would be done in time to get to work.
I thanked them, and walked over to radiology for my mammogram.
The radiologist actually took me in to my appointment a whole hour early (gasp!!!). That is unheard of at the VA!!
I got my mammogram done...
Then was left awaiting the results for 20 minutes....
Instead, they said, "We need more pictures of the left side...."
We did that. That made me a little hesitant, but it seemed ok.
More waiting.
Then the lady that did the mammogram tells me that they're sending me to have an ultrasound done to "get a better look."
It takes about 45 seconds for my mind to fully process what that meant, and then I enter freak out zone!
Why do we need a better look??
They just walk away and leave me sitting there.

From past experiences, any time they use vague, neutral phrases, and really calm voices (like I am a child), it's never good news. It's their way of trying to prepare you, without actually telling you anything. They mean well, but I have a hell of an imagination, so it doesn't help me at all!
So, I text Jon. He wants to drive the hour to get to me. I have to talk him out of it.
I text Jess. She's asleep. Probably for the best. I don't want to scare her without further info.
I text Tammy. She was there the first time I dealt with this, so she panics too. She fully understands the ramifications if there is bad news!
I text Dano.
I cry and am shaking.
I'm reliving biopsies, surgeries, chemo, radiation.... It's the complete ruin of my life as I know it.... AGAIN, all in my head.
I'm not doing well. At all.
Dano distracts me, thank goodness! I needed to calm down...
Someone finally comes back out. Radiation is running behind. It will be a few more minutes.
About an eternity later, they finally come and get me.
I walk down the longest cooridor ever, or so it seemed.
They look at my breast with the ultrasound machine, and look some more. They probably used a half a bottle of the gel on me. The whole time, they talk over me head like I can't hear them. That's ok, because I'm contorted around, staring wide-eyed at the screen. My heart is pounding so loud that I can't hear them anyways. I'm busy trying to fight away the panic. I watch the screen until my eyes fill with tears from fear. I know exactly what they're looking for. It will look like a spot. A hollow spot on the screen...
I'm a pro at this.

But there's nothing.
How could they do this to me??

Relief quickly turns into annoyance.
Why do this? Why torture me in this way??
The doctor did apologize, and explained that the breast had become more dense since their last look, and she just wanted to be thorough. Maybe that should be mentioned sooner next time?? Perhaps BEFORE they just leave me sitting there, wondering, for a half an hour! Ugh.
In any case, because of that fiasco, I missed my sick call appointment, and they "promptly" rescheduled it for 1:30 this afternoon.
Fortunately, I didn't decide to go get some lunch, and I was still sitting there when they were able to squeeze me in anyways.
So, I just now finished talking with the nurse. My white blood cells are elevated from fighting an infection. My chest is clear, so my cough is coming from my sinuses draining. Antibiotics and some motrin... and I should be good as new. Maybe I will still make it to work on time, but after that emotional roller coaster, I really want to just go home and go to bed...