Thursday, April 1, 2010

No News Turns Out To Be Good News, Mostly

In some ways, I totally understand why it takes so long to hear test results when they turn out to be non-serious. And in the vast majority of cases, not hearing back means everything was normal or OK. 

But then there's teensy minority of cases where patients fall through the cracks and, for example, never hear that a PAP smear was abnormal and needed following up on. And it's that tiny minority that I always worry a little bit about falling into.

So why can't someone in every doctor's office take 30 seconds to call and leave a message (or tell me directly) that everything looked fine and I'll get a proper explanation in a letter? Or drop me an email that doesn't have my HIPPA protected info on it but at least gives me a more immediate all's-clear?

I finally broke down and called the neurosurgeon's office today to find out what the CT showed last week. The tech had told me the neurosurgeon would have the results by Monday, and I figured that if my head was going to explode, I'd have heard something fairly early in the day. (Heck, if it's really bad, they don't even let you leave the hospital.)

Sure enough, it seems like my brain has yet another thing that they will have to watch over time, but isn't currently anything to worry or do anything about. 
I'm going to get a report in the mail, someday, and I'll share it then. But the medical assistant read a small piece of the neurosurgeon's dictation to me that said it wasn't actually an aneurysm but an "infundibulum" on the "posterior communicating artery." (The MA actually had to spell the word "infundibulum" for me since she couldn't figure out how to say it. I can't either.) 

From what I can find on the Web, it essentially means that there's a widened spot on the internal carotid artery. Apparently sometimes they grow bigger and can become an aneurysm, but it's not one right now. 

Not really sure how often it will need to be checked on. Since I seem to be getting brain MRIs about annually anyway, I'm not sure it will require doing anything all that special. 

I'll let y'all know what, if anything, is different when I get the actual letter from the neurosurgeon. And/or after I talk to my internist, who I see in a couple weeks.


Chief Family Officer said...

Oh man, I'm so sorry you have to worry about this! I'm glad the news seems to be good though. Thank you for your kind words over at CFO - it's very nice to "meet" you!

Diane J Standiford said...

How cruel they are as we wait by the phone. And so often leave us hanging. I hope you get good news soon.