Mass Update Followed By Mass Confusion

“Hello. This is Nurse Ratched from Dr. Hemnhaws office. We have the results from your mammogram and ultra sound.”

She’s not really Nurse Ratched. She’s actually pretty nice. Well, at the beginning of the conversation she’s nice.

“Everything looked fine. But Dr. Hemnhaw wants to know if you’d like to see a surgeon.”

I thought you just said that everything looked fine?

“Yes, I did. But the doctor wants to know if you’d like to see a surgeon. Just in case.”

Just in case what? If everything looked fine, why do I need to see a surgeon?

“To make sure everything IS fine.”

But the mammogram, which was a special diagnostic mammogram, said that everything was fine and the ultra sound that they did just to make sure the special mammogram wasn’t lying said everything was fine. Why does the doctor think I need to see a surgeon?

“I didn’t say she thinks you need to see a surgeon. She wants to know if YOU want to see a surgeon.”

Why would I want to see a surgeon if the tests say I’m fine?

“Just to be sure.”

Be sure of what?

Nurse Ratched is now becoming a little ratched-a-fied.

“To make sure it’s nothing to be concerned about.”

Is Dr. Hemnhaw  concerned?

“Listen. I’m just reading her notes. It says that the mammogram and ultra sound were normal. That the patient needs a follow-up in one year and then Dr. Hemnhaw wrote, ‘Ask if patient wants to see a surgeon.'”

Well, I’m not a doctor. Shouldn’t a doctor determine whether I should see a surgeon or not?

(Exasperated sigh heard over the phone. Make that, over both ends of the phone.)

I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m just trying to understand. The diagnostic mammogram was fine. The ultra sound was fine. But the doctor, with the medical training I lack, wants to know if I want to see a surgeon. Does she want to start up a blog?

(Ok. I didn’t really ask that last question. But I wanted to. I asked this one, instead.)

Could they tell what the mass was?

“It doesn’t say. It just says that everything looked normal and to have a follow-up in a year. I just need to know if you want to see a surgeon or not.”

Uh. Well. I’m going to go right out and get my medical degree.

And then?

I’ll have to get back to you on that.


(To the dear, sweet bloggy friend – you know who you are – who helped me decipher my doctor’s question: Thank you. A million thank yous. You put my mind at ease when the nurse/doctors couldn’t. This blogging community is amazing. I appreciate all of your concern and well wishes. Thankfully, all is well. But you already knew that, didn’t you? You’re all the best! The absolute best readers a girl could ask for!)


Filed under Observations, Roadblocks

12 responses to “Mass Update Followed By Mass Confusion

  1. Congratulations?
    I’m not sure if there’s still something to be concerned about, because that still sounds ambiguous. At least you’re in charge of the important decisions medically. 😉

  2. Oh, the medical field. Much like enduring water torture. Glad your bloggy friend was more helpful than that nurse!

  3. So glad everything is normal. It is indeed difficult to decipher exactly what the message is. I would suspect it is a “cover your a**” legal thing that prompted the question.

    It is so frustrating when you pay for an expert opinion and get none.

  4. Isn’t it fun when the decisions are in your hands?! But I’m glad it’s good news or possibly good news. 😉

  5. I’m so glad your tests came back all clear, even if the nurse wasn’t exactly good about conveying that. (I had a similar thing happen a few years ago with an abnormal mole. The nurse called to tell me that it needed to be removed and then asked which procedure I would like the doctor to perform to remove it. Umm…isn’t that what the doctor’s supposed to decide?!)

  6. Glad to know that the results were normal…UGH to the conversation with the nurse.

    Happy Holidays.


  7. Glad everything’s okay, Jane!

    Have a wonderful Christmas!


  8. I know docs are busy, and I know it’s cheaper to have a nurse call you, but maybe this should be Script C: “everything is fine, but if you need to be reassured you can schedule a follow up with the doc [in which you can demand a surgeon if you want to]” or a Script D: “everything is fine and I have to tell you that you’re officially entitled to see a surgeon, a radiologist, or another doc if you want” conversation. Right? Train the nurse to be the doc’s voice or have the doc do the calling.

  9. So glad and relieved that you received good news. Very bizarre call from the nurse, but at least you won’t have to talk to her again, right?

  10. Have a wonderful Christmas Jane!!

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