On the plane to Reno

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 5:30 PM, PST

Patient is a well-developed, well-nourished, nonobese, nulliparous female.  Patient is alert and oriented.  Memory and judgement are grossly intact.
— notes from Dr. Winter 2/10/10

Crazy day.  Mark and I got up at 6:45am and drove to Portland.  There was snow in Elsie and in the hills all along Highway 26 down to 1000 feet.  Saddleback Mountain had a dusting of snow even… Loggers’ breakfast at Camp 18.

We stopped and picked up my medical records in Gearhart, at NW Cancer Specialists (the gynecological surgeon),  St. Vincent’s hospital (all the films, scans, MRIs, BGSIs…) and landed at Nathalie Johnson’s office in Portland by 12:30.  We waited a long time, first in the waiting room, and then in the tiny examination room with me on the paper covered table wearing a paper vest.  Mark and I always turn off the florescent lights and open the blinds when we are in doctors’ offices.  Andrea, the nurse, was kind enough to remember that fact and offered to turn them out for us!  I guess we are regulars.

After quite a while, Winnie (the schedule maven) came in and said that Dr. Johnson had needed to leave!!! and would be back at 2:30, could we get some lunch and come back?  I was pissed.  OK, whatever.  We walked to Vivace, where they have wonderful savory crepes.  We ordered and sat down and then the phone rang — could we come back at 2:00 instead? (it was 10 to two).  I decided no, I had waited enough for Dr. Johnson today, not to mention getting up at dawn to be there on time.  And what was she going to tell me anyway?  Same old story – you need radiation, chemo, surgery to have your ovaries out, Arimidex, Zometa…  She had actually called me Monday night from her home to talk (unusual) and urge me to DO SOMETHING SOON.  I told her I was going to Reno to see Dr. Forsythe.  I was tempted to loan her my Suzanne Sommers’ book KNOCKOUT, but decided against it.  I don’t think she would be convinced, even reading it.

So Mark and I found Sue Gemmell’s (from Princeton) house, said hello after 30 years, and then Mark drove me to the airport.  He is flying out to NYC tomorrow morning, but I am going to Reno tonight (via Seattle) to meet my wonderful Mom at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino!  I got a room there for $29 a night, I guess they are counting on us dropping a lot of money in the casino – NOT.  But it’s only a few miles from the Cancer Hope Center where my appointment is tomorrow morning, and it has a free airport shuttle.

When I went to the gate in Portland to board the first leg of my flight, they were boarding the previous shuttle flight to Seattle, so they put me on that –  no waiting.  Flying into Seattle, the little prop plane circled and flew over the city from north to south.  Over the Space Needle, Lake Union, Mom’s old apartment, my old houses, the Smith Tower Building (my favorite).  The Cascades were tipped with pink sunset, and then Mt. Rainier appeared, breathtaking as always, just before landing.  I often wonder why we all don’t move back to Seattle – I love it there….  When I landed, I had 3 text messages from the airline telling me that my flight (the original one) was delayed 44 minutes, then 60 minutes, then 135 minutes.  I sure am lucky that I got out of Portland on the earlier flight, otherwise I would’ve missed the Reno flight for sure.  Serendipity.

So now I’m the flight to Reno, fortified by all things Seattle from the concourse – Ivar’s clam chowder, a Dilettante Dark Ephemere truffle, and Chukar’s dried Rainier cherries.  This flight is a gift from Jan, my lympathic drainage massage therapist, who has been listening to me compassionately for months and wants me to go check out this treatment in Reno — She’s also watching Tasha while I’m gone, bless her.

I’ve been reading through all the medical records I picked up today, circling the errors, trying to translate the terminology, finding out there are suspected metastisis in places they hadn’t even told me.  Apparently, I am “a very pleasant 48-year old nulliparous female”… “an unfortunate young woman”… “she is averse to surgery and has many questions…”  I am well developed, well nourished and nonobese.  My bladder is unremarkable.  Reading the grisly details of my surgeries as I fly to Reno, hoping for another chance.


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