That dreaded “C” word.

June 7, 2010

That scene where someone gets told they have a serious illness is one that features again and again in films, and probably one that most of us have played out in our heads as some kind of subconscious insurance policy against it actually happening (I wouldn’t bother it doesn’t work!). The reality in my case was not at all like those dramatic scenes – more like a total farce!

I had had a lymph node removed the week before to see if it was malignant and to be honest had a very strong intuition that it wasn’t going to be good news. In the intervening week I had been reading up on lymph cancer so I had some idea what we were talking about. The more I read, the more convinced I was that I had it. So I took hubbie along with me for moral support.

When we finally get shown into the treatment room (after waiting about an hour) we get told that the Doctor who had been treating me was otherwise engaged so they had brought in another Doctor. There was also a nurse there and the atmosphere was…. well let’s call it tense… after all we all know what we are there for! I’m a girl who likes to cut to the chase so I wanted him just to get on with it, but he had other ideas. First he wants to check the wound and then he starts checking all my other lymph nodes, which was obviously just a time waster since they had been checked the week before and without a diagnosis there wasn’t really much point….

Finally that’s over and then my phone starts ringing in my bag and everyone starts looking uncomfortably around. I know it is my son and that he won’t give up until he gets an answer, so thrust my bag at hubbie and mutter that he needs to deal with it. So he goes into the corner and starts mumbling into the phone.

 Then the Doctor finally pulls himself together – sort of – and the conversation goes like this:

Doctor (looking at the floor): We are referring you to Herlev Hospital to the he….he….he (looks at nurse for help)

Nurse: Hematology

Doctor: Yeah, hematology, it’s a difficult word, the hematology department at Herlev because you have a blood disease.

Me thinking: What the heck is he talking about a blood disease???? As far as I know we’re either talking about lymph cancer or an infection……

Me out loud: A blood disease? What kind of blood disease?

Doctor: Ahem, it is called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma it is a kind of, ahem (looks at the floor for help), it is a kind of ahem, (looooooooong pause)……..

Me (I know about Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from my research): It is a kind of cancer, right?

Doctor (clearly relieved he actually didn’t have to actually say the dreaded “C” word finally looks up): Yes it is…..

I wonder if this guy actually was a Doctor, or just some poor Hospital Porter they shoved in a white coat to deal with the hordes in the waiting room??????

So tomorrow I’m off to the he…he….he…hematology department at Herlev Hospital for more tests, where hopefully I’ll see a real Doctor who isn’t afraid of the “C” word…..

PS. In fairness I should add that every other single person that has dealt with me during this has been professional, warm and friendly……..

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3 Responses to “That dreaded “C” word.”

  1. Dennis Says:

    Hey Kirsten,

    Thanks for keeping your loyal blog readers up to date on this stuff.. Despite the unfunnyness of ‘the C word’, I admit I chuckled a bit at the above scene.. I can just imagine you handling the situation much better than the doctor… 🙂


  2. […] instilled me with a lot more confidence in the Danish Health Service than my last encounter (see my previous post). There is a lot of debate in Denmark at the moment about closing small hospitals in favour of […]


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