This must be a required class in med school: “How to Give Bad News 101”. Every time a doctor has to give me bad news, they always coach it with a bit of good news first. I’ve learned to read them. When the good news sounds okay, and they are making it sound like it’s really, really good, they are setting you up.
Case in point: When we took the old dog to the vet after 24 hours of bleeding from the nether regions, the doc took a bunch of x-rays. When she reviewed them with us, she told us how good her heart looked, and how the tumor on her backside was small, and would probably grow slowly. Then she put up the x-ray that clearly showed a fist-sized tumor on her spleen. Really bad news.
That’s why, when I saw the doctor on Friday, I knew bad news was a-brewin‘.
Let’s go back to Thursday afternoon for a moment. I picked up my mail at the post office, and was looking at an ad from VistaPrint on the way back to the car. What I didn’t see was the 2″ rise in concrete just before my driver’s door. I was moving at a good clip, so I hit it full force with my right foot. The one that had surgery in September.
Back to Friday. After doing the “does this hurt?” routine (the answer was yes) she ordered a bunch of x-rays. When they were done, she put them up on the lighted panel, and quickly reviewed each one. Then she showed me all the different angles of my ankle. No breaks. Looks healthy. Good news.
Ah, but there were 3 more xrays to go. “I thought you might have a break on this bone, but it doesn’t show yet. It might be broken, but we’ll have to wait and see.” The not so good, but not so bad news.
Final x-ray. “Now, take a look at this. You’ve broken the pin and one of the screws we put in. The head is broken right off. We need to do surgery, and we won’t be able to remove all the pieces.” Yep, that’s the bad news I was steeled for. Being prepared doesn’t make it any easier.