Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bad First Date —VS— Good News Wait

Well, today was an emotional roller coaster! Jenny and I made our way into the city for our 9:30 appointment at St Vincent’s Hospital. We arrived early, filled in the paperwork, read for a bit on our Kindles and then got called in to see the neurosurgeon.

The neurosurgeon was very friendly and informative. He had a look at the MRI and asked a bunch of questions, did some testing of my hearing, facial numbness and vision. He was very relaxed and didn’t seem worried at all. I guess he sees more tumours than you or I could imagine — and this one was pleasantly benign. 

He told us that it was big enough to need to come out. Smaller ones can be controlled with radiation but ones this size and bigger are best removed. So, he sent us out to the bookings desk with a recommendation to go on the level 2 waiting list. Level 1 means emergency. Level 2 is “necessary but not urgent” and involves the surgery happening no later than 90 days from today.

So, the gentleman at the bookings desk told us, “We will call you when you have two weeks until your surgery.” 

I said, “You can’t tell me now when the surgery will be?”

“No,” he said, quite soothingly, “we don’t know yet.” 

Comforting, I thought. “Well, when will you know?”

“We fit the level 2 surgeries around the level 1 surgeries. So, when your name is nearing the top of the level 2 list, and there are two weeks until your surgery, we will call you. Thank you. Have a nice day.”

Ever had one of those first dates? “I’ll call you when I’m ready to see you again.” Ouch. 

Leaving the hospital I was livid. Well, as livid as Dave gets. I had difficulty stringing sentence together and chose instead to speak in short bursts of quip and quiet. 

Luckily, we had parked about a 10 minute walk from the hospital, the sun was out and the wind was brisk. It invigorated me. Jenny walked alongside me and explained to me how this was actually an encouraging sign. It wasn’t until an hour or so later that all she said started sinking in.

“If your tumour was dangerous,” Jenny said, “You would be a level 1 surgery. The fact that it is level 2 means the neurosurgeon is confident that nothing is going to change with your tumour for at least 3 months. It needs to come out, but it’s not an emergency. This is a good thing!” I’m fairly sure she said this, or renditions of this, more than 5 times. It sunk in, but through about 2 metres of slow-seep sandstone. 

When it finally got through, I was quite excited. “Hey,” I said, in an epiphany of brilliance, “This is kind of a good thing.”

“What do you mean?” Jenny asked.

“Well,” I paused to get this momentous thought into clear words, “I have a slow growing benign tumour that is likely to be much the same tomorrow as it was yesterday.”

Jenny nodded, patiently.

“And, if I am on the level 2 list,” I paused for effect, “that means the doctor thinks I’ll be fine until the surgery!”

“Yes, dear.” Jenny paused in case more brilliance was going to burst forth from her pontificating husband. nothing came, other than a happily wagging tail, lolling tongue and expression of anxious anticipation. “Good boy!”

“I’m ok now,” I said. “I really am. It all makes sense.”

“That’s good.” she smiled. “You know, I love you!”

“Yup,” I nodded. “I know!”


  1. Sounds a bit like conversations Stefan and I have on a regular basis. I tell him something, he agrees (in a non commital type way), and then weeks or even months later he tells me the same thing like he has just come up with it himself. I'm glad it didn't take you that long for it to sink in! And the weather was lovely yesterday. That's one of the great things about our God - even in our darkest hours the sun still shines.

  2. Kate Hollingsworth2:16 pm

    Cute! You have such a way with words Dave. I like that even through this stress you can articulate so engagingly.
    Now for the wait..

  3. Anonymous2:36 pm

    Sorry you have to go through this. Good to hear it's benign. Glad to know you have a great supportive wife. TC, JB

  4. Anonymous10:49 am

    Dave, Right there with you mate. I had a cavernous angioma cut out about 6 years back after a couple of grand mal seizures. God worked in our lives right through the whole thing and in the end the worst part (for me) was not being able to drive for 4 months. Bek and the other hand at 8 months pregnant with Lilli found the whole thing a little more stressful though!
    It's true, though, the good news wait. My surgeon told us he could operate "next week" but it took them a couple of weeks to get back to us and book it in. You want it out NOW but are happy in the knowledge that if it was really urgent they wouldn't have let you out....



Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

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