Michelle and I leave the room. I feel spaced out. I don’t remember talking as we make our way back to the kids. I think Michelle must have asked the receptionist to mind them while we arrange the scans. I’m numb as we walk to the scan reception area. Every step feels like my last. We wait behind an elderly woman who’s booking an appointment.
“I have a Wednesday morning at ten,” the receptionist says.
“Ooooh, I don’t know if I can make then. Let’s see…” She flicks slowly through a diary, fumbling with a pencil. “Ah, yes, I have a coffee morning.”
“Well, I have a Thursday afternoon at three.”
“I know I can’t make then, I’m meeting a friend.” She shows the diary to the receptionist, who pauses to look and nods. “Do you have any other slots free?”
Come on, fucking hurry up! I growl in my head, trying to keep calm. After several minutes, the women finally agree on an appointment and the lady teeters slowly away.
“Yes, can I help you?” the receptionist asks with a manufactured smile.
“I’ve been told to book MRI and CT scans for tomorrow morning,” I say quietly.
“There are no appointments tomorrow. You’ll have to wait until at least next Friday,” she says abruptly through yellow teeth. The wrinkles around her eyes crease as she narrows her eyes.
There’s a waiting room packed with people behind me. All are sitting in silence. Some are reading. Others are drinking coffee or water from clear plastic cups.
“The surgeon has told me he must have the scan results on Monday. So, please…”
“No can do,” the cantankerous old crone interrupts.
I’m really pissed off now. I put both hands on the counter, Iean forward and lock onto her eyes.
“I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and the surgeon needs those scans to operate next week. Look at your screen again and book them in for tomorrow morning. Do you understand?” I say in a raised voice. Some of the people waiting look up from their magazines. I need to fight hard here and my resolve hardens.
“Umm, it looks like I can fit you in tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.”