All posts tagged: Hospitals

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The Waiting Room: Details of a Diagnosis

“Fakakta…shit.” “Fakakta…shit.” In a packed radiologist’s waiting room in midtown NYC, a 70-something woman sits next to me, scribbling in a stack of forms and muttering loudly in Yiddish-English. “Fakakta…shit.” The woman says this roughly every 10 minutes.  I want to whisper to her, “My feelings exactly.” I’m here to get a precautionary mammogram to rule out any additional cancer. Four days prior, I learned that I had — well, what looked like — ovarian cancer and, because my mother and grandmother had breast cancer, my gynecologist thought we should rule out B.C.  Hopefully, I wasn’t a cancer factory. This brown-carpeted clinic smells like sanitizer and sadness. I fumble with my keys in my jacket pocket. I’m still zipped up in my puffy orange coat, ready to get in and get out because this isn’t me. This isn’t me. Fakakta…shit. *** Allow me to back up and start from the beginning of this C craze. Back in September of 2015, I’d bled for five days. Hey, we ladies bleed; not weird, right? Well it was weird …

Nice to Meet You, I Have Cancer

It was the first time I’d been out to a restaurant since having a cyst removed, and only a few days after learning I had ovarian cancer. > Insert record scratch sound here < Yeah, I know, I know. That’s some big news right there. But hold on, let me finish my lede… I’d spent the last week and a half recovering from surgery and, up until that November night, had been pretty much down for the count. A Percocet-induced haze of Broad City binge-watching and crushing fatigue. So by the time my friend Shelly came to Brooklyn for a visit, I was ready to shake up my bed-couch-bed routine and feel somewhat normal again. What I wasn’t quite ready for was having to share my big news with the outside world. We decided to go to a red booth and burger joint right around the corner from our apartment — a place where my husband and I were semi-regulars and would often sit at the bar and order dinner. I’d gotten to know Tommy the bartender a bit, a …

That Time I Was Radioactive

Right now I am radioactive and waiting for a PET scan. I’ve been anxious about this test since I’ve known I would be taking it. I found a thickening in my left breast on Labor Day. It wasn’t a lump, but it was clearly out of place. I didn’t really think it was anything, but I googled it and discovered that breast cancer doesn’t always present as a lump. My regularly scheduled mammogram was only six weeks away, but I am not great with uncertainly. Six weeks of waiting would be intolerable. I called the radiologist as soon as I knew the office would be open, and when I described what I had found, she squeezed me in first thing in the morning two days later. I arrived to an almost empty office. As other patients came and went over the next four hours, I shuttled back and forth between repeated mammograms, ultrasounds and the dreaded waiting room. I cooperated as they put my breasts and arms into increasingly uncomfortable positions. Finally, the doctor asked …

The Scandalous Misadventures of a Highschool Candystriper

In general, I’d like to think I’m a pretty helpful person. I volunteer. I give money to BAM. I’m happy to help you move a few boxes. But due to my occasionally contrarian personality, when I hear the word help, I instantly recall a time when I was anything but. In fact, I think about the time when was a downright jerk. TueNight contributor and Reuters Money editor Lauren sent a request out on Twitter: “Calling all humanitarians! Tell us about your first volunteer gig using #firstjob hashtag”  Tossed back in time, I immediately conjured a red and white-striped 1940s looking smock, the overwhelming stench of salty soup, a long, white corridor of doors and the occasional moan. Yes, I was a candy striper. And while that sounds like a benevolent “helpful” job, my motivations for doing it are hazy and suspicious: My cousin was a candy striper? A girl at my new school did it and she was super popular? My mom made me? I wanted to give back? Ehhh… Lets be honest. At 14, I was more …