Another big day. This will tell all. Can’t have coffee or muffins or anything. Fuck! We show up at the hospital, but I have forgotten my paper work, Janet goes home to get it. I wait for the Technologist to show up and process us. There are very few people waiting. Turns out I do not need the papers. Everything is in the computer. I go in the room, dress in those ridiculous gowns and wait for the Ultrasound technician to show up. There is a lot of holding your breath going on. I can’t see the screen. Janet can from her perch in the far corner of the room. A bit Kafkaesque if you ask me. She can’t tell anything anyways. All very blurry. The technician goes and gets the radiologist. Very direct, almost brutal oriental lady. She has no time for niceness and starts asking questions again. Temperature, traveling schedule and a bunch more. I forget what they were. I let Janet handle her. It is finally over. Clean up and get dressed. Go to see Doctor Ruth.

We sit in the waiting room. Sandra, the receptionist is really nice. I have joked around with her a couple of times. She is very compassionate. There is obviously a problem and she is not going to add to them. We wait. Finally, we decide that she should call us wen the doctor wants to see us. We will go for a walk and maybe get a bite to eat.

We have breakfast and discuss the surreal quality of it all. Not knowing is the worst part of it. Two hours later we are back at the doctors office and she is ready see us. But first, she needs a bathroom break.

Things are getting more confusing.

  • Inflamed bowel wall that could indicate a tumour of some sort
  • Liver spots that could be tumours
  • Lymph node leaning too close to the liver. Not showing any signs of anything but cannot be ruled out as the source of the spots
  • Lesions in the lung

Add the growth to the list and you have… not sure. Not showing the symptoms of what it could or should be. The accumulation of events is concerning. Time for the experts. GI, Liver, and others. No reason to take anti-biotics anymore. The long weekend is coming and no one is responding. We go home to wait. The surrealness of the situation is overwhelming. Not sure what to think, how to react.

3:00PM. Phone rings. We have to go to emergency to get into the system before the long weekend so the processing can start. A necessary pain done willingly.

We arrive at The Toronto General Hospital emergency around 4:00PM. This is a far cry of St Micheal’s which we have frequented often visiting and assisting others. Clean and almost empty. No one wailing with bullet and knife wounds. We are taken in within the hour and shown a bed. The required temperatures and stats are compiled by the nurse. Her demeanour is quietly assuring and efficient. She also take 4 vials of blood. I ask her to leave me some. She smiles. It will take about an hour to get results in, so we can relax.

Another nurse comes in requesting a urine sample. Take your time she says. She has no idea how many times I have to pee. This is not an issue of when, but of how much. She offers to bring me a blanket since I appeared to be trying to sleep. I am off to pee in a bottle. Come back to find a blanket. I cover myself and try to sleep.

And then, we wait.

I cannot help but listen in on what is going on in the other three beds in the room. My curtains are closed. I wish I could somehow film this. A Dr. Ellis comes to see one of the other patients. He is very loud and overly sure of himself. Quick conversation, X-Ray ordered. He later comes back and tell the patient that they have not had a heart attack, and should go home to call their GP the next day. What they have is not an emergency. Over the course of the evening, this scene is repeated 3 times. His role is obviously to make sure emergency is saved for just that.

I get the visit from the go-home-and-don’t-bother-us-doctor. He comes across as being arrogant. Asks all the usual questions, appears to listen, but you somehow get the impression he is not, listens to my chest, and goes away saying he will help my GP who is obviously confused and could use their assistance. He comes back 20 minutes later to say the general surgeon is on his way. The power of reading charts comes through.

I am not sure what time it is, but at some point, Janet goes out to call a few people and bring them up to date. Including Leslie and Fetneh who has left messages on my phone. They will get in touch with others taking some pressure off us, or more to the point, off Janet.
We wait.

A very amiable young man comes in. Wait, the look, the accent, the name.. Yep, he is Persian, but cannot speak the language. After some pleasantries, we go through the usual questions: Nausea? Vomiting? Fever? Excessive exhaustion? You sure? He listens to my chest. Popular place my chest. The blood results are in. These are the third tests in 2 weeks to show that I am healthy. Everything is as it should be. And I look healthy. I can talk, and walk, almost at the same time. But the liver is suggesting differently. He goes off to talk to the Chief Surgeon.

We wait.

The amiable doctor comes back with the chief surgeon, an affable old geezer with.. no wait, it is a she, and she is young. Again the same questions. She at least, leaves my chest alone. But a lot of questions. She is not concerned with the growth in my sternum. Too hard, probably just bone. They are very interested in the history of cancer in the family, particularly mom’s dad who had stomach cancer. Obviously something is amiss. They go off to consult with her boss who is the Doctor we are trying to see in the first place, Dr. Gallinger.

They come back with names and a short plan. Very short. Next week is a colonoscopy, and the week after a clinic visit with Dr. Gallinger. Sometime, also, a chest CT Scan. And we can go home. I appear to be too healthy to be admitted.

I have not eaten since noon, and have not drunk anything since 3:00PM. I have a headache, and am exhausted. Add to that the stress of not knowing, of feeling that something is wrong and I am about to impose even more on my friends and family. A bit overwhelming.
We get home, eat something, and I go to bed.

Ruth, notice how this diary started with Doctor Heisey, then Doctor Ruth?  Well, we are now talking with Ruth. Ruth has been absolutely amazing through all of this. She gave us her eMail address, as well as her telephone numbers so we can reach her anytime. Janet has been in constant communication with her all night, and Ruth has been responding giving advice and reminders of things to say and request. She stayed with us all night to the bitter end at 11:00PM. I wish I could do more for her than just send flowers which I hate doing. She tells us to take a couple of days off and do something good for ourselves.

I am too confused to think tonight. I have to go to bed.

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