I’m sat in the hospital waiting room wondering what will happen next and if there is anyone I can see here that speaks English. Dr Daniel must still be upstairs in the operating theater so I have to keep waiting for another 30 minutes. It’s about 9pm and there are less and less nurses walking around the ward. I suddenly remembered Dr Daniel asking how much money I had in my bank account because if I need surgery then it will cost a couple of thousand pounds. Crumbs, I’ll have to pay this on my credit card. I’ve already spent $400 at the last clinic today and I know that this consultation and ultra sound is $900. That’s $1300 I’ve spent out of my travel budget already today so it looks like I’ll be eating rice and beans when I’m travelling rather than steak and beers.
I’m waiting and waiting and I can’t stop playing every scenario in my head. I’ll message Lais but she’s still in her class at University so she won’t message back for a while. Dr Daniel said to me before he left that he would only see me again if I needed surgery on, so let’s hope I don’t have to see him again even though he is devilishly handsome. He also said that depending on what it is, it could cost a lot of money but if it is a tumour then they will do it all for free. I suppose if it is a tumour at least I’ll save my money on the operation.
After what’s seemed like an eternity, another Doctor I hadn’t seen before came over to me and asked what time my friend Lais would be back from University. I told him not for at least another hour as she is far away.
“Ok I will phone her and tell her to go to your apartment instead of coming to the hospital”
“Ok, but why” I replied
“We are discharging you”
Fucking get in! I’m good to go, I’m outta here, I’ll be on my way to my 3pm flight tomorrow straight to Iguazu Falls then Argentina.
The Doctor went away and came back ten minutes later after he had spoken to Lais on the phone and asked me to come into his office.
He sat me down on the blue bed and with no expression and said the words I never thought I’d hear,
“Afsheen, you have a tumour”
I just shrugged it off. Ok so what does that mean? as I was in total disbelief. I have no clue what he means. I know a tumour has something to do with cancer but is it cancer? Why’s he just saying tumour and not cancer? It can’t be that bad if it’s just a tumour.
He carried on talking to me and said they need to do a biopsy to see if it’s benign or malignant. I don’t even know what these words mean. Suddenly I can’t understand his Portuguese or his English. One tear drop entered my eye but I held it back. I think benign means dead and malignant doesn’t sound great, but even if it’s benign or malignant, if it’s a tumour I don’t want it inside me surely.
He said that I should call Dr Daniel in the morning as he has gone home for the night. What? Dr Daniel has left me without saying goodbye and now wants me to come back tomorrow for surgery.
The Doctor gave me a time to come back the next day and showed me to the reception desk where I had to pay my medical bill on the way out. I’ve got travel medical insurance but I’ll have to claim that back after I have paid up front. Worst or best $900 I’ve ever spent I can’t decide?!
I started to shuffle out the front of Copa Dor Hospital not knowing what to do, where to go or who to call. It’s now gone 10pm in Rio and 2am in England so all my family are asleep. This isn’t the sort of news I want to wake someone up at 2am to give them.
I walked down the steps of the hospital and onto the busy street of Copacobana, suddenly the world came crushing down like nothing I’ve felt before. The bright lights, the hustle and bustle, the yellow taxis driving past beeping their horns, it all feels like an outer universe spinning around me.
The tears started filling my eyes and everything became a colourful blur. I started to heave and my hands started sweating. I’m gonna be sick!
Then all of a sudden Lais text me. The doctor had phoned her and told her what the diagnosis was but she is still in her class.
I’m stood outside the hospital with tears in my eyes, feeling weak and thinking if I should just sit on the pavement as my legs have turned to jelly.
She’s online on Whatsapp and has started messaging me
Lais: Tomorrow we need see him in his clinic to explain for u
Af: But did he tell you why
Af: I feel Vomit. And Crying
Lais: Im in class
Af: The doctor told me whats wrong
Lais: And the next thing to do….. do u know too?
Lais: Do u wanna Subway sanduiche?
Af: I don’t think you understand