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The background: Cheryl (known to many of you as my wife) had an MRI done recently due to chronic back pain.

– – –

It was one of those court days where several people needed to be escorted out of the building. A little conflict goes with the territory. Your agency sues someone, you expect a little hostility. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for both sides to leave with no love to spare for anyone in the room.

But this day was bad. One for the books bad.

Sometime past mid-day, my phone buzzed – vibrated really. I checked the number really quick, to make sure it wasn’t one of the kids’ schools. It wasn’t, but it was a local number, and I don’t get a lot of calls from local numbers. I handed off to my partner and stepped out of the room to answer.


“Mr Kauffman?”


“Is this John?”


“We have Mrs. Kauffman’s MRI results.”

Ah, ok. Why didn’t you call her?

“We have you down as her primary contact.”

That’s… odd.

“Well, we could call her if you like.”

That would probably be best.

“You should know we found something though. She’ll need to follow up with a specialist as soon as possible – in case I don’t get through to her.”

Somewhat alarmed, what kind of something?

“We found a solid mass.”

What does that mean?

“I don’t know, you’ll need to follow-up with the specialist.”

Can you give me a hint?

“You’ll need to follow-up with the specialist.”

Could it be cancer?

“You’ll need to follow-up with the specialist.”

It probably isn’t just a cyst, is it? They wouldn’t appear as a solid mass, would they?

“You’ll need to follow-up with the specialist.”

Can you tell me where it is?”

“You’ll need…”

I know, I know – follow up…

“… With the specialist, Mr Kauffman. It’s really important you do so as soon as possible.”

Ahh… alright… let me give you her number….
Listen, if you don’t get through to her, could you give me a call back. I’m in court today – I probably shouldn’t have been away this long – so I probably won’t answer; but could you leave the information about the specialist on my voicemail too, so I can make sure we follow-up?

“Sure Mr Kauffman. I’ll give Kathy a call right now.”

Did you say Kathy? Kathy is my mother not my wife.

“Yes, Kathryn Kauffman. It says here her primary contact is her son, John.”

Kathy! My mother?

Immediately I realized I said this with relief, and immediately I felt really guilty, followed by really worried… for my mother.

“You are her son, aren’t you?”

Yes, but I’m surprised you called me. I haven’t been the primary contact for any of my mother’s medical problems. I’m not sure I even have legal authority to handle her affairs. My father has been taking care of her. I have his number, but I’d be surprised if you don’t.

“Oh wait. Here it is. Sorry to bother you Mr Kauffman.”

Oh sure, no problem. You just made me pee my pants on possibly the worst day at work of my life. Just think of this as the gravy on the mashed potatoes my life has become.

I was talking to empty space though, the nurse making a hasty retreat.

From the frying pan to the fire then into a pre-heated oven for the rest of the day – yep, that was good eating.

– – –

On a related note, I get to have my first MRI next week – like, EVER!

How exciting is that?

Yep, it was just the other day (about four after the court day from the hot place) I was talking to my bran spankin’ new neurologist (new to me – he’s been practicing his craft on patients for 20 years now), when he mentioned my patern of gradually worse headaches, my history of leukemia, and how it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a few high tech images of the space between my ears.

I can’t wait – another opportunity to skip work!

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