The results are in…

Where were we?  Oh yes, we had just completed my prostate biopsy.

Now it was time to await the results.  Dr. Greenberg had said “Should take about a week to get it back from the lab.  I don’t like to phone results to my patients.  So make an appointment and you can come in to see how things turned out.  Good or bad.”  Fair enough.  After all, how long could a week of waiting be?

I strolled confidently to the cute young lady at the front desk.  The one who makes calls to patients’ answering machines and rattles off information faster than any human can write it down.  “Hi” I said confidently.  “How about an appointment next Tuesday?  The Doctor says my results should be here by then.”  Silence.  Followed by her nimble fingers doing speed of light calisthenics on the computer keyboard.  Followed by more silence.  “Hmmmm.  Looks like we’re booked.  The earliest I can get you in is next Friday morning.  How’s 8:40?”  Restraining myself from leaping over the counter, strangling the young lady with her telephone cord, and making my own appointment, I sheepishly said “OK.”

Ten days to wait for results.  Ten days to try not thinking about it.  Ten days to imagine the worst.  Anything from “Hey, no problem, you’re OK.  Go home.”  To “It’s stage four.  Get into Hospice and put your affairs in order…today.”

The days passed and I was, at first, only mildly irritated.  Young children I encountered on the street sensed that I should be avoided.  My feeling of foreboding grew to tsunami proportions and it took all of Sweetie’s cooing and cajoling to keep me from self-immolation.  I pasted a perpetual smile on my face and studiously maintained my public persona so as to avoid losing all of my friends.

Sleeping was fraught with adventure.  Getting to sleep was no problem.  Staying asleep was.  I tried various mind tricks.  First I imagined lush green fields with bubbling brooks.  No good.  So I enhanced my vision of lush green fields by adding romping, nubile maidens.  Not good enough.  So I simply deleted the green fields and focused completely on the nubile maidens.  Nothing was a panacea.

Instead of sticking with the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen and the U.S. Congress for laughs, I made the mistake of reading The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan.  A long repetitive dissertation on the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, it reveled in a glorious depiction of the misery of those poor farmers who lost their land to the wind, and were forced to rely on clubbing rabbits to death and boiling tumbleweed for sustenance.  As an added bonus, the book described the concurrent, abject misery of the Great Depression and the twenty-five percent of out-of-work, apple selling Americans.  On the other hand, maybe reading about their misery deflected a bit from my own self-imposed malaise.

Thursday night was mostly sleepless as the nubile maidens all sought refuge from me.  Arising well before we needed to, we leapt from bed, did our best to greet the rather dark morning, and got in the car for the forty minute trip to Ventura.  Needless to say, we arrived at the place of execution a full thirty minutes early.

The waiting room was empty except for the young lady with the flying fingers.  She was removing the last vestiges of Halloween decorations including the monstrous hanging ghost that happily greeted us on our arrival.  I decided to read Wine Spectator in the foolish hope that I might get seriously drunk.

A rather large man and his rather large wife entered the waiting room.  He held a large manila envelope that obviously contained a very large x-ray.  The Rather Larges sat across from us.  Mr. Rather Large stared straight ahead for a full twenty minutes and held onto the envelope in the same way that Charlton Heston  famously rabble-roused the NRA with his cold, dead hands speech.  I realized that I was not alone in my misery.

“Mr. Rothenberg, you can come in now.” Nurse Ratched said as she opened the door to the business end of Doctor Goldberg’s shop of horrors.

We sat in the exam room.  My blood pressure reading taken by Nurse Ratched was at the high-end of abnormal and my throbbing pulse could be felt without the need of placing her fingers on my wrist.  “How have you been feeling since the biopsy?” she said.  “Fine” I lied.

Waiting for the Doctor to make an entry, Sweetie and I talked about things of which I have no recollection.  For some strange reason, my mind wandered back to 1960.  I remembered anxiously awaiting the results of my CPA exam, results that would appear in my mailbox.  I remembered what my fellow exam takers had said.  “If your results come in a big fat envelope, you failed the exam.  The fat envelope has all kinds of stuff including how to reapply and retake that awful test.  If you get a nice thin letter, it will simply have your passing grades.”  I thought, “I hope Dr. Greenberg has a nice thin piece of paper.”

He did.  And we went home.

23 Responses to “The results are in…”

  1. 1 Irvin Lucks November 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Great news!


  2. 2 June Behar November 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    If I am the first to ‘like’ this, then I like it a lot. Because I care about you so much I will set my clock back two hours on Sat so I can have an extra hour to celebrate your passing grade.


  3. 4 Leo November 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Zei Gezunt fredila


  4. 5 Sharon November 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    So happy and relieved for you!


  5. 6 art vander November 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm



  6. 7 Barbara Kessler November 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Great news. Why do doctors always say they want to see you sooner and of course no appts. are available until way after the date they want you back in the office. Hope you took Sweetie out to celebrate.


  7. 8 Jane Carroll November 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Know what that feels like!
    so glad for you.


  8. 10 leslie stein November 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I am so glad to hear the good news


  9. 11 leila November 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I am so happy for you. Wanted to call today but couldn’t get up the nerve. That was a hell of a lot to read through to get to the results. Well written.


  10. 12 Roger Conrad November 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Excellent news, well written, sleep well now.


  11. 13 Helene and Fred Kimmel November 1, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Sometimes G-d’s ways do make sense.


  12. 14 Phil Caruthers November 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Whew! I feel so much better now. And I’ll bet the nubile maidens will be happy to get the night off!


  13. 16 Fred November 2, 2013 at 12:50 am

    The Other Fred
    Your content and your writing style is excellent, you should have a national audience. How about it people. How can we get that done?
    Oh yeah, good news.


  14. 17 Alice November 2, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Thank you for sharing your own adventure into the part of life when we begin to watch our bodies as if they were a pressure cooker that could go off with wild steam at any moment… I’m soooo glad the result was positive, Fred! With my husband, the doctor’s office made a mistake and the first call was to say there was no problem….followed that evening by another phone call, this one by the local doctor himself, with the news that the result clearly indicated he was going to have to deal with the big C.


  15. 18 Alice Witkowski November 2, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Fabulous news


  16. 19 Judie November 2, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Nothing worse than waiting forever for results. Happy ending is all that counts. Love you so much! Cousin Judie


  17. 20 Anne Shrage November 2, 2013 at 10:40 am

    wonderfully happy news..anne s.


  18. 21 sally November 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    doing the happy dance here too! great news.


  19. 22 Dick and Toni November 4, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Mozel Tov!


  20. 23 k November 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    amazing what the mind does & says & then with the words,,,all is well. come back in a year Oh what a relief it is. good luck-happy health


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