I followed the nurse, Angela, into what first appeared to be a store room. There was a hospital bed, but the bed almost looked like part of the extra junk that had landed there, along with the supply cart with “ULTRASOUND” scribbled in black marker. Every surface was cluttered with stuff. The sink directly across from me, in full view as I sat on the bed, had some blue-colored substance splattered on it. Is this Baystate Medical Center or did I walk into a pop up neighborhood clinic looking to make a few bucks? I forced myself to breathe and considered the possibility that I might have been a little nervous.
I was nervous, but glad to be there a week early, due to a cancellation. Am I just lucky, or did they move me up due to a concern?
Everyone was kind, as they shared each step of the process, and tried to make me comfortable. The doctor was very casual and used humor to keep things relaxed. He introduced himself, but I didn’t quite catch his name. I later learned it was Dr. Njogu Njuguna. Angela complemented me on my sneakers and asked if I was a runner. When I explained that I was taking a hiatus due to plantar fasciitis, she said that Juan, the sonogram technician, has that as well. Juan and I compared notes about various treatments and techniques.
After Juan found the enlarged lymph nodes on the left side of my neck with his wand, Dr. Njuguna got right to it. “A pinch and some stinging,” he said without any prelude. And it was, a pinch and some stinging, and then my neck was numb. It felt as though the needle was chooching around inside my neck. I asked him whether he was basically sucking stuff out and he said that it could be compared to a kid using a straw and centrifugal force to pick up liquid. In this case, he said he was picking up both individual cells and, when I would hear a clicking sound from a different needle, sections of tissue. He said the combination would provide the best selection for the pathologist to work from.
One down, one to go. Next up: CT scan #2.