So, the good news is that I don't have a tumor.
Wait, let me back up.
About ten days ago I started having some weird symptoms...so weird I couldn't even explain them until my doctor started asking me questions and prompting me with words that sounded vaguely related to (or at least rhymed with) the issues I was having.
I got sent for x-rays and EKGs and PIBBs (of the "Mr" variety) and all other kinds of stuff. I got lost in not one, but two hospitals. I did learn that doctors will walk right past a plainclothes person in a restricted area, but a nurse who spots you from fifty yards away will stop in her tracks and sprint down the hall to corral you. Just in case you were wondering.
Anyway, following my first x-ray my doctor called to say that I needed to go back to the hospital for another one, because the radiologist had Found Something. I was already all stressed out, and she described this Something in foggy terms and, by the end of the conversation I believed that one of my ribs was growing a smaller, sharper second rib that was arcing downward and which could, at any moment, pierce my lung. Of course, she said nothing of the sort, but panic and a strong imagination are not the best cocktail.
I went back for the second x-ray (got lost again) and, hours later, received an urgent and apologetic phone call from the hospital saying they'd taken the wrong x-ray due to some paperwork issues, and that I needed to come back again. That was a Friday. I was going out of town for the weekend, and told the very nice woman that I'd be in on Monday. She didn't like this idea, but since no amount of bending caused me even the slightest amount of lung deflation, I figured a few days wouldn't hurt. How fast can a bone grown a second, selficidal second bone?
So I went back today (and did not get lost-huzzah!) and received my third and fourth x-rays, after which I got caught in the middle of a rather awkward position (they left me in an oval-shaped room which seemed like the perfect opportunity to practice my short-track speed skating form. p.s. you can't hear the techs until they've opened the door and p.p.s. never attempt any sort of athletics while wearing a hospital gown). So then the head doctor person who'd discovered the Something came in and assured me that it wasn't cancer and that I should be fine. And, inside my head, I heard the zipping sound of a record needle scratching off the record.
It is a strange thing to discover that you're not very, very sick when you never knew that someone-a trained professional, even-thought you were very, very sick. I'm not sure if my doctor told me that, and my brain, after taking a look at the mess I already was, decided that I didn't need to hear it, or if she had her own ideas and opted not to add to the tension I was already carrying.
I left the hospital without the relief I should have had, but since I'd entered it without the fear and doubt I could have been carrying, I guess I'll call it a good trade. And now, of course, this scene is playing over and over inside my head: