So, Monday night, my friend calls and says: my father and his sister are friends with this super amazing pathologist. My aunt (who is also amazing) is here visiting. Get me your medical records by Wednesday, when I'm taking my aunt to the airport. She will bring them to the pathologist. Call my father, he will tell you what to get.
So, I drop Tuesday's plans to take the car to the shop (which, only moments before, had seemed like the logical activity for my "day off"), and I start making calls.
I know that getting everything is going to be challenging. When I called my friend's father, he told me that I needed to get slides and a parafin block. "Don't take no for an answer," he instructed.
So, first I had to argue with the Sha'are Zedek (SZ) pathology secretary, who says, regarding the parafin block: "we don't give that out." Then I had to argue with the Maccabi Lab secretary, who first says "we can't give that out," then adds, "you need to have a note from a doctor."
Thank God, at least I had slides already, from when I went to the US for my mastectomy/reconstruction. Of course, the slides aren't labelled well, so it's impossible to know which slides are from the biopsy, the lumpectomy, or the mastectomy....
Well, after I insisted that the material in the parafin block actually belong to ME (since it comes from MY body), the not-so-helpful SZ secretary conferred with the pathologist, who informed her that I actually could take the parafin block, if I leave a deposit (of 221 NIS -- you gotta wonder what that one shekel is for....). Oh, and please call back later to make sure that it will ready in time....
Then, the friendly-and-helpful Maccabi Lab secretary suggested I just get my GP to write the letter. If I have a letter, she explained, then I won't have to pay; though I still have to leave a deposit (of 1,000 NIS!!). Oh, and it will take three days. ACKKK -- I need it by tomorrow morning! OK, have the GP write "dachuf" (urgent), and I will see what I can do.
In the afternoon, I call SZ back. The secretary (not the same one) doesn't know what I'm talking about. "Please call again, in the morning". Then I call back Maccabi; the secretary is trying to help , but still can't make any promises. "Please call back in the morning."
Meanwhile, Moshe is trying to get all the paperwork and CTs on a DVD. But the scanner is not working...
I call my friend. She is leaving for the airport at 9:00 pm. Call our mutual friend, she directs, "He can bring the stuff when he comes home from work. I'm sure he'll be home by then." (Like my husband, mutual friend works in computers; I am not nearly as certain that he will get home early enough...)
I call mutual friend. He's usually home by then, but can't guarantee it. (I hear his wife say something quietly in the background.) He continues, "I'll do what I can."
I call my friend in Rehovot. Can you pick up the stuff from the lab tomorrow? She can. But how to get it to Jerusalem?
Make some calls.... Try some leads.... Nothing.
It is too late to make more calls.
I start composing a letter to the amazing pathologist.
I am too tired to finish it.
Go to sleep.
Call SZ: "we have it ready for you; the lab closes at 3:00."
Call Maccabi: "it will be ready soon; the lab closes at 5:00."
Leads went nowhere. Post to blog. Post to various lists.
Get call from school at 11:20. School is ending at noon, because of President Bush's visit to Israel.
Stop everything. A had made plans to go to her friend's home after school. I promised to pick up the kids, if the school buses cancelled pick-up, like they did during Bush's last visit. I call the mother of A's friend. No answer. I call the father -- he says someone will be home at that time and the buses should be fine; that's why the school is ending early -- the roads are closing at 1:00. He'll call back if there is a problem.
Wait! Roads will be closed at 1:00! Drop everything. Take friend, who had come over to help me tidy up my house, and head off to SZ to pick up parafin block. At least I had good company for the ride....
Zip to SZ. Find pathology department in the deep, "down-below" of SZ. Get package.
Zip to deliver package to mutual friend. Mutual friend hands me a large, potted Aloe Vera plant, a gift from his wife and her mother. (THANKS!!) Then a cab pulls up with another mutual friend! Bizarre!! I invite cab friend to come for dinner on Shabbat; I tell him we are having guestst that he would enjoy meeting. "How do you know that I don't already know them?" he asks. As I'm getting in my car, I call out their name. "Yup, I know them," he says with a smile, "we'll be in touch." Small world!! But, no time for chit-chat. Close door and...
Zip back to our side of town.
Get back just in time to drop friend off to pick up her kids and for me to arrive at OT, at my appointed hour... on the dot!
Then, home and back to work!
Driving home. Moshe calls. He is also on his way home. He's driving right behind me. He is picking up an old scanner, that we never got around to hooking up. He's hoping to use that to finish scanning the material. Good luck.
At home: No response to any of my requests. My Rehovot friend checks with he neighbor, who owns a cab company. It will be 220 NIS to send the material by cab. OK, at least we have an option.
Moshe is worried. Even if he could set up the scanner right away, it was already doubtful that he could finish scanning all the material. We discussed some options (there weren't many) and our priorities. He would at least make sure to scan in the CTs. He left. Back to the office.
I still needed to find a way to get the materials from Rehovot!
Out of desperation, I called a friend who used to drive all over for his job. He started a new job, but maybe he still drives all over... He doesn't. But his office is in Lod (and there is a branch in Rehovot). "Why didn't you call me yesterday?" he asks, "I was working in Rehovot and could have brought the package to you in the evening." Little did we know! We tried to figure out how he could help. We couldn't come up with a feasable solution. Then... walla! (voila) After work, he would drive the 20 km to Rehovot to pick up the package, then he would drive back to Lod, to the airport, and deliver the package to my friend, at the airport!
OK, now to finish the letter for the pathologist, explaining what I'm sending him and giving him a brief overview of my medical history. (all this on one page!)
Oh, no!! I forgot about picking up A, who was no longer at her friend's home, but rather at the birthday party of a boy from her class, at the Traffic Safety Institute.
Time was running out!
I called the mother of another school friend, who lives closer to where we live. She's not picking up; her daughter didn't attend the party. I called another mom -- same thing. I called another mom -- same thing. Finally, I called the father of (horrors!) one of the boys -- same thing. I called another mother, who I don't know as well, but I was getting desperate! She agreed to bring A to her home. OK, at least her home is only a few minutes from my home.
I have less than half an hour to finish the letter to the pathologist.
I am desperately trying to compile a clear and consice document. I am running out of time. My brain is fried. I am struggling to focus. It is almost done.
My daughter calls. The mother is bringing her all the way home. THANK GOD!! I want to thank the mother, but I don't have time. A thanks her for me, as I hang up the phone.
Finish the letter. Review the letter. Make some alterations. Check again for clarity. Hope I did not leave anything out. Email the letter for Moshe to print. He puts the letter with everything he has compiled (DVD plus photocopies of the material that never got scanned). Then off to our mutual friend...
What's done is done.
I am beat!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,
the cancer of protecting your own neighborhood
13 hours ago