Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Really Quite Funny

I received a phone call yesterday from the receptionist who works at the diagnostic imaging center. She called me to say, "We'd like to schedule your routine MRI scan for this week or possibly next week."

That's strange, I thought, since I'm not due to have my next MRI until November, and in the past I was unable to schedule MRI's until the one year anniversary date or later, due to insurance coverage.

Even though I told her that I wasn't due for an MRI until November, she continued to ask me questions and I continued to answer them. Through the phone, I could faintly hear her dutifully typing the information I'd given to her. Then the old familiar question came: "When was your last period?"

"About three years ago, but I've had some slight slight spotting maybe two or three times since then," I responded.

An awkward silence ensued. There was a pause in her typing. And she broke the silence by asking, "You don't have periods?"


"Oh. So you've had a hysterectomy," she deduced confidently, albeit incorrectly.

"No. I've had chemo," I replied, trying to sound neutral, as my irritation mounted. I guess this particular piece of information wasn't noted anywhere in my records.

The typing stopped again. " don't get periods anymore?" She questioned - again.

Poor girl, I thought. "No," I replied. "I don't." More silence. I got the feeling she didn't know quite how to enter this type of information on her computer screen, or as if there wasn't enough space on her data form for statements such as "no periods since having had chemo."

"So when would you like to schedule your next MRI?" she asked again, while moving on to a topic she could understand.

"November," I said for at least the second time now.

"Oh, I'm sorry, but we can't schedule the MRI until closer to the time, closer to November," she answered.

By this point I was totally perplexed. Why did she even call me at this time? I think what really bothered me was her lack of knowledge about chemo and its side effects, such as its tendency to propel many women into early, and unwanted, menopause. Am I the first person she's ever called who is menopaual at age 47 - due to chemo?!?

"How about if you call me in November then?" I asked, again trying to sound pleasant.

She agreed to do that, and the typing stopped again. We both hung up, and I wasn't sure who was more confused - me or the receptionist.

Shaking my head, I couldn't help thinking that, without a doubt, I'll be asked the same set of questions again next time I am called, including this one: "You don't get periods anymore?"

Some things never change. And it really is quite funny...


Beth said...

Hi Karen, thanks for commenting on my blog. Our paths do seem very similar (diagnosed at 43, agressive stage 1 cancer, running, kids). Great to hear you're at 3.5 years already!

Karen L. Holmes said...

Beth! Hang in there; it DOES get better! Thanks for you comment!

Hopesrising said...

Thanks so much for your comment at my blog. Amazing isn't it to be a survivor. I believe its really important to take what we learn and give back. :)