Our day started at 7:30 with Megan having fasted since 11:30 the night before and me (Danielle) groggily getting things done around the house before we had to leave. After sitting through LA traffic for 1.5hrs, we arrived safely at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. We had been to an adjacent building, but this was the first time stepping into these facilities. We can both agree when we say that it did not disappoint!
The process to sign Megan in was quick and the staff all seemed informed. We were then sent off to radiology where we were escorted to a room where the walls were plastered with floor to ceiling photos of water and reeds. Two witty nurses watched over Megan as they updated UCLA’s network with her medical information and got her setup with an IV (unfortunately accomplished after the third poke – we liked the guy so we forgave him). It took a little longer than usual to get the consent forms together, but the fellow was super nice and explained everything well and quickly. He explained that because they’d like this to be the last biopsy, they were going to try to get as many samples from as many of the masses as they could.
After a brief wait in the waiting room, Megan and I split; her going off to get stabbed and poked by a needle and me to anxiously wait somewhere for it to be over. I know that Megan didn’t really get to see the beauty of the place, but I have to say, the whole environment was calming and welcoming. It didn’t feel or smell like a hospital, it almost felt like a hotel. The cafeteria was huge (I ate sushi made to order), there were multiple places to wait (a garden, a regular waiting room that showcased the status of current patients, and even a dark waiting room for those who needed sleep) and they even had a streamline process to make sure you didn’t miss any updates (concierges to update you personally and a restaurant style pager). Sitting out in the sun on a bench instead of an air conditioned room on stiff plastic seats was a great change of pace. Even the people out there for lunch were nice and didn’t mind striking up a conversation.
A tiny older woman came out to update me that Megan was done and that I could go upstairs. She slapped a sticker on me and told me to head up to the second floor. I went upstairs, located room 15 and found an even smaller older woman (Ani – pronounced “ah-nee”) talking to Megan as she typed away on the computer next to her bed. We’ve been lucky to have had a couple great nurses in Megan’s care, but this one was pretty amazing. She was funny, super welcoming and was in awe of how much we loved each other. Sidenote: I honestly have to say how lucky we have been to be surrounded by staff that supported us and acknowledged me as Megan’s wife. I’m shown the same respect and courtesy as anyone else. It means so much to me to be welcomed amongst so many strangers.
Because Megan’s biopsy ended up running a little longer than scheduled, they ended later than expected which meant that they wanted to keep her longer for observation which meant that we weren’t leaving until the prime hours of LA southbound rush hour. We killed the time by updating the mom, watching Downton Abbey, sleeping, finding Red Bull and sour candy, ordering a bagel and chatting with Ani. I had requested that a doctor or RN come in to explain everything that happened during the biopsy (Megan played it so cool after coming off of drugs that when they updated her on what happened, they wouldn’t have guessed that she didn’t remember what they told her) and the same fellow that helped with the consent forms came in to give us the run down. He walked us through the PET and CT scans that we’ve been driving and mailing around on discs (the first time we’ve ever seen them) and walked us through where Timothy (biggest one – left lobe), TimoHthy (second biggest – right lobe) and Tiffany (third biggest – by the pancreas) lived as well as where the Tims were stabbed (they couldn’t get to Tiff). He walked us through which areas on the scans were “hot” and where the lymph nodes they were concerned about were located. It was refreshing to have a fellow (who really didn’t need to do this) take the time to break it all down for us. He noted that it would be 3-7 days before the results from the biopsy would come back (most likely the 7).
5:20pm hit and we were finally getting discharged. After wheeling over a not so stylish wheelchair, our wonderful nurse hugged us and sent us off saying that she hoped we’d ask for her if Megan came back for treatment. Megan was then escorted by 5 pimple-faced-braces-wearing young individuals in light blue polos down to wait for me to come back with the car.
Another hour or so later and we ended up fulfilling a full 12 hours of biopsy fun. Needless to say, we were both wiped out by the time we got home. Megan is doing well, a little sore and tired, but in good spirits. And me, I feel like we’re in good hands. After today, I’m pretty calm moving forward that our next appointment will finally show some real results.