Kafkaworld's Blog

June 6, 2010

Jargon and Miscommunication

Filed under: oral cancer,Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 8:30 am
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For about ten days now, I’ve had something odd happening in my mouth, and I don’t mean the sort of party that happens when you eat chocolate brownies.  At my regular check-up with the oncologist, who turned out to be twelve years old, I asked her to have a look.  No way, not until she’d shoved that damn camera up/down my nose again.  I swear the oral cancer people are in love with that camera.  Nobody escapes without being scoped.  I had a small victory when she asked me which nose I preferred!  Umm, the one on my face???  One point to me!

Anyway, having got through those pleasantries, she was prepared to listen to me for 5 nanoseconds and eventually had a half-hearted poke around in my mouth.   Yes indeedy, there was a small lesion right at the back where she couldn’t see it.  I had to go to an ear, nose and throat person of her choice.  Could I see my own surgeon who is intimately acquainted with all my oral bits, having been peering at them for at least 15 years?  No, I couldn’t.  I should go home and wait for a letter.  If nothing happened in 2 weeks, I should ring somebody.

I was now terrified extremely concerned about the lesion and went home to dream of death and rewrite my will.  Next morning, totally shit scared in a more rational frame of mind, I rang my surgeon who had always stressed that if anything weird happened in my mouth, I should rush off to see her.  From past experience, I knew it wouldn’t be that simple.  First I’d have to talk my way past the daleks kindly receptionist who laughed at me and said there was no appointment available until August.  I wasn’t silly enough to enquire which year.  So I went into full drama queen mode and eventually Davros conceded that perhaps she could make a note on my chart and perhaps the doctor would see it one day and if she did, she might indicate to Davros that I could be squeezed in a little earlier.

So, home to sweat it out … and wait …perchance to dream … and to re-write my last words before dying which, I can assure you, will be wise and witty.

Three days later, I got the call.  What a relief.  Later that day, I reclined in the surgeon’s custom built dental chair.  By this time, I no longer cared about anything except to discover, at last, the terrible truth.  I lay back, tried to relax, and heard Dr W remark, “I think it’s traumatic”.

” TRAUMATIC!!!!  Don’t you think I know that you insufferable fool”, I tried to scream at her through the mouthfull of hardware she had thoughtfully stuffed in my mouth.  Turns out, ‘traumatic’ is surgical jargon for ‘injury caused by scraping with a sharp instrument or peskily pointed pretzel’.  In other words, NOT A CANCEROUS TUMOUR CAUSING FURTHER PAIN, DISFIGUREMENT AND DEATH.  But by the time that sank in, I was out the door, gibbering in the waiting room to the assembled audience about how wonderful life was.  They must think I’m completely addled, and perhaps I am but why can’t the medical profession speak English, especially to people in a high state of anxiety who aren’t thinking straight anyway.

Oh well.  I live to whinge another day.  I’ll step carefully off the emotional roller coaster and have a little rest … until next time.


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