The Diagnosis: Day 7

Today is one week to the day from when Brian called and told us to go straight to the ER.

It’s definitive – Lisa has Severe Aplastic Anemia – for those of you sick of the play-by-play, that’s really all you need to know. I feel like the sprint that preceded the marathon is finally over.

Today’s adventure?

We drove to St. Johns trying to get to Maris (“Like Paris, with an M”) who was supposed to call us last night the release of the bone marrow slides, but didn’t. She didn’t answer. So, I left Lisa in the car on the side of the street, and stormed into the hospital asking for pathology. I took the elevator down to the subbasement and walked around until a woman startled looking at me, and asked what I was doing down there. I said I was trying to find pathology. She clearly wasn’t used to seeing civilians, but she finally pointed where I needed to go.

It’s a packed cublicled office, and not intended for people not working there. I found someone and said I was looking for Maris. Her reaction was the beginning of my know Maris was not beloved by her co-workers. She tells me Maris comes in around 9:00ish usually *eye roll*. She looks around, “When she gets in, I’ll call you. Do we have your number?” “Oh no,” I said, “I’m not leaving without those slides.” There’s clearly no place for me to really sit. She turns and looks at me trying to figure out how serious I was. “Not leaving.” Then I follow her gaze… “Wait, are those her slides?” She admits they are and picks up the paperwork. But she tells me she can’t release them. They’re on Annie’s desk and Annie is a supervisor and she doesn’t know why they’re on Annie’s desk, so she won’t sign them out.

“Okay, as long as they’re here, I’m fine. I’m waiting for Maris.”

She finds me a chair. I sit. Someone else comes in and looks at me (why is a civilian in here?) “Can I help you?” “I’m waiting for Maris.” “Maris isn’t coming in today.”

I lose my shit. Voice raised, I say this patient is waiting to be treated but can’t until those slides are released into my care, and I need them to find someone who will make it happen. Everyone stops what they’re doing and looks up. And people come out of offices. And one of them… I recognize. He’s the doctor who did her bone marrow biopsy a week ago in the ER. I call out across the office, “Doctor – I need those slides. I need you to release them.” And he personally packages them up and hands them to me.

I have never been so happy to be a messenger in my life.

This is me leaving with the package:


Lisa’s in the car. We drive to UCLA where I page Dr. Paquette (The Guy). He responds in less than a minute, and tells me to come up to the hospital floor – he’s doing rounds. I leave Lisa outside and head up. It’s a million degrees, but I put on my Doc McStuffins sweatshirt because, I’ll take anything right about now.

I get onto the hematology floor, and Paquette is in a patient’s room. I hear uproarious laughter coming from inside, and everyone clearly loves this guy. He comes out, sees me, and stops rounds. The residents wait. He takes the slides, and one fellow, and says, “Okay, let’s do this.” Me: “So how will I find out what you think?” Paquette: “Uh, you’re going to be with me. Come on. Let’s do it right now.”

What? So I walk with him to the lab. He tells me I can have my own microscope hooked into the system, and I sit looking at Lisa’s blood while he examines the slides for the next 1/2 hour. He talks me through some of what I was seeing, but just, I mean… amazing. The responsiveness of this guy is amazing.

The Guy and the The Slides:

Image 1

In the meantime the fellow sees my sweatshirt, that I’m sweating through, and shouts Doc McStuffins! When I say I created it she looses her mind and explains to Paquette what a big deal this is.

And at the end of this, he make the diagnosis. I ask again, is there any chance this will regenerate on its own? He’s never seen anyone in Lisa’s compromised state regenerate. But he understand where our head is. He is so kind.

He’s willing to give her a week for unicorn thinking. But we will probably just wait until Monday, get our blood tested one more time to see it hasn’t magically changed (he wishes us all the luck in the world for it to do so) (and loves the phrase unicorn thinking) and then we will tell him we’re ready, and they’ll start the process of admitting us to UCLA.

They go back to rounds as the female fellow turned and said, “I’m telling everyone you guys are coming on to the ward, they’re all going to be so excited!”

So… here we are. Home for the weekend.

Today’s update was mostly about me because… this was a me action day. But this is all about Lisa.

She’s wrapping her head around everything one step at a time. And I’m going to do a little light reading:

Image 2


2 thoughts on “The Diagnosis: Day 7

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