A few weeks ago I had a follow-up appointment with my gynecologist. Because my doctor was called out to perform an emergency surgery, I ended up seeing her nurse practitioner. After my exam, she told me everything looked fine and I asked about the test results from my last visit. The nurse apologized and said that my doctor had most of the results with her so she couldn’t give me any specifics, but not to worry because I wasn’t in the “bad stack.”
“There’s a bad stack?” I asked.
She said, “Yes. That stack stays here. The doctor reviews all of the results but the bad stack gets priority because people need to be notified right away and next steps need to be mapped out.”
She left the room while I dressed and I contemplated the bad stack with a combination of relief and sadness.
When I met with her at the nurse’s station, she said, “Wait. I’ll check through the bad stack one more time while you’re here, just to be certain.”
As she flipped through each page, I became acutely aware that each piece of paper was a person, a woman, who was about to get some bad news right before Christmas.
The nurse finished flipping, gathered up the stack and said, “Yep. Your results are not here, so I’m sure you’re fine.”
I got in my car, put the key in the ignition and sat for a minute, offering up a silent prayer for the women in the bad stack and for the people who love them, feeling guiltily grateful to be in a stack somewhere else.
Photo Credit: pinprick