Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Monica and I are sitting in the back alcove trying to figure out a client's records when Euguenia walks back and hands me the phone.
"It's for you," she says, so I take the phone.
"Hi, this is Judy from Virginia Mason. I was calling to tell you that your test results came back abnormal and so we'll have to do further tests."
"Uh, excuse me?" My heart must have dropped to my toes with an audible thump because Monica turns to look at me, eyebrows raised. She likely assumes that I'm talking to a vendor and I don't know how to communicate 'holy fuck it's my doctor's office' with just my eyebrows.
"Your Pap came back showing abnormal cells."
"Wait wait wait, does that mean, uh, that I'm jumping on the cancer bus?" Monica's eyes practically turn inside out, her eyebrows have climbed so high but I can't do anything but curl fetally around the phone.
"Probably not. There's actually a very small chance of that. It's probably nothing. Nonetheless, we want to set you up for a colposcopy, where they'll basically hold a magnifying glass up to your cervix and see what they can see."
I feel betrayed since at my appointment just a couple weeks ago the doctor said that everything looked fine. I know that there's no way she could have individually interrogated every cell but that doesn't matter right now. I try to make a joke out of it, "are you sure it's not just sun spots?" but she doesn't get it.
"Um. I want to repeat, though, that everything is probably fine. Sometimes an abnormal cell is just an abnormal cell."
"Is it, uh, contagious?"
"Oh, no. Whatever it is comes from the inside out, not the outside in. You're not contagious, just, well, malfunctioning a little bit."
I find her attempt at humor just as funny as she apparently found mine.
"Alright, so I'll transfer you to make an appointment. Please, don't worry about this. Everything will be ok. Oh, and if it makes you feel better, your STD tests all came out negative. But I'll bet you knew that."
I make my appointment and, numb, look at Monica. She looks down at my shaking hands and says "Well, if it makes you feel better, it happened to me when I was 18 and it turned out fine."
All I can wonder is why I suddenly hate the phrase 'if it makes you feel better.'

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