Entry 4 from Journal of the Nightmare Patient:
Dr Augustus and his team (there are so many of them!) have visited me on the ward this afternoon. He shared with me the diagnoses that he’s considering: aggressive leukaemia or aplastic anaemia.
I’ve heard of leukaemia. I know that’s a serious disease even without the prefix of “aggressive”. I know that leukaemia is cancer. I hope it’s aplastic anaemia and not leukaemia. Aplastic anaemia doesn’t sound scary. Aplastic anaemia doesn’t sound life threatening. I can’t remember what Dr Augustus said about aplastic anaemia – I wasn’t ignoring him, I just wasn’t really listening.
Of all the questions I could have asked him, I could only think of one that I want the answer to! It forced its way to the forefront of my mind. It blocked out all other questions that I could (and maybe should) have been asked:
“Am I going to die?”
No matter how many different ways I worded the question, Dr Augustus gave me the same answer: “I don’t know”. I know that he doesn’t have a crystal ball. I know that he can’t look into the future. I know he can’t give me the answer that I so badly need. He doesn’t know himself whether I’ll live or die (hence “I don’t know”). He only has the facts as they are presented before him. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen. He doesn’t even have a final diagnosis for me; he’s only working on speculation. But, Dr Augustus’ refusal to answer with anything other than “I don’t know”, infuriates me. What kind of a doctor is he?! He must have some idea!!!!????
I’m now sat on my hospital bed, crying my eyes out like a pathetic child. The nurses have drawn the curtains around me to give me some privacy. Or have they closed the curtains so that I don’t scare the other patients?! I feel alone. I’m terrified.
What’s happening to me????
It isn’t fair. I’ve only come to the hospital for a routine operation. How has it lead to a life-threatening disease being diagnosed?????? Until last week I had been leading the life of a “normal” twenty-year-old. Now, my world is being tipped upside down.
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