Read part 1 here.
The hematologist returned to the exam room with the promised paperwork. He wanted me to have an MRI of the brain. Colon cancer can spread anywhere, even the brain. It was a terrifying prospect. Everything was being done in a rushed manner. Start-of-Chemo was next Monday, and it was already Thursday. He wanted the test performed before chemo began.
In retrospect, I think the urgency was because mets to the brain would've confirmed a stage IV diagnosis. My upcoming chemotherapy was based on a stage IIIc determination, the treatment of which involves different drugs than would be used for a stage IV patient. This question needed to be sorted, and quickly.
I was ushered onto one of those four-wheeled, spinny stools that doctors use, which was placed in the hallway at a pass-through window near where one of the office clerks sat. She phoned my insurance company, and then the hospital, and then handed the receiver to me. My input was required in order to schedule the appointment.
A woman's voice over the phone asked me many, many questions in a nonchalant way, the most gruesome of which was, "Have you ever held a job where flying metal shards could have entered your eye?"
In a split second, my brain held this conversation with itself: "Flying metal shards? ENTERED? What?!?... 'Entered' seems like such a gentle word. They wouldn't just 'enter', would they? They'd sort of get SHOT like tiny, destructive bullets RIPPING INTO the eye, wouldn't they? WOULDN'T THEY?!"
My response to the lady's question came slowly. It was a drawn-out, "Nooo," in a mostly-confident, if slightly horrified tone.
Thanks to this happy exchange, I then imagined streams of metal shards flying out of each eyeball, racing toward the gigantic magnets inside the MRI machine. What would THAT be like?! ack! ack! ack! I worried that I would fall off the little spinny stool in a dead faint. No longer engaged in the conversation; I absorbed none of what was being said. After "Thank you," and "good-bye," I noticed that I had scribbled these mysterious words: "flags", "3:45", and "zipper".
I handed the receiver back to the clerk. I was troubled that I was unable to recollect the conversation. It was as though my brain had erased itself. Luckily, paperwork was handed to me that included all of the details of my appointment, which I discovered was scheduled to occur in two days.
I decided that what I needed most was a nap. It had been a long month already, and there were four whole days of it left.