I had this recurring dream for eleven days between my biopsy and my next appointment. Occasionally, I have it when I don't feel well or life is stressing me out. Because it's hard to write about, I prefer to put it into a fictional context, but this is the honest to God truth.
Oh God. Is this what a heart attack feels like? I am standing in the middle of a very busy hallway, two feet from a door bearing the stenciled letters, ‘Dr. Miriam Eder, Oncology.’
Oncology. What did I ever do to deserve this? I swear I’m sorry and it won’t happen again, just tell me what it was.
As of two minutes ago, I am officially late for my appointment. My hands are actually sweaty and my blood is racing through my veins so fast I can actually feel it. It hurts, a pain I’ve experienced when I’ve had too much sugar and it’s rushing through me. I know, from experience, that the crash will be hard and difficult. I feel moisture filming my eyes and I bite my lip. I will not cry.
The door opens and a man steps out. He’s probably 60 if he’s a day. He smiles and holds the door open for me. I see the receptionist inside the office and she looks up at me puzzled. I can’t move. I’m sure if I do, my heart will explode my chest. The man says something, but over the rush in my head I can’t tell what it is.
I am shaking, but I don’t realize this until I reach to grab the door the man has just released. I miss and it closes in front of me. I stand in the hallway, cutting off the flow of traffic around me with my outstretched arm, frozen in place.
The door pushes open slowly and the receptionist is there. She smiles sympathetically and takes my outstretched hand. “Carter? 2pm appointment?” I don’t know if I actually responded, I was too busy hyperventilating. I hate myself for the weakness.
She doesn’t let me sit in the waiting room. I don’t need the additional apprehension. Instead she takes me to a small office with a leather chair before a desk. I sit and stare at a very bad Monet print.
I bite my lip so hard I taste blood, but I’m not crying when Dr. Eder walks in with her coffee. She’s short with graying black hair and sits on the edge of the desk facing me. “Well, dear, I got your biopsy results back...” Black spots begin to form on the edges of my vision.
Dr. Eder takes my hand and I try to focus. She begins to repeat herself, going into medical detail, but I’ve heard enough. Now I cry. “… need to come back for tests in a few weeks, but we ruled out cancer for now. Your acute anemia and…”
Someone bumps into my shoulder.
I am standing in the middle of a very busy hallway, two feet from a door bearing the stenciled letters, ‘Dr. Miriam Eder, Oncology.’ The door opens and a man steps out. He’s probably 60 if he’s a day. He smiles and holds the door open for me. I smile back.
So here's the odd part. Dr. Eder is my endocrinologist. I did have a biopsy. My first visit actually went quite closely to this dream. But in the dream I ended up smiling and there were no subsequent visits. This is the difference between make-believe and reality. I'll write about the reality of it in a bit.