Mammogram Scare in the Philippines

ambulance leaving guimaras provincial hospital

Left off yesterday relating a visit to my wife’s new gynecologist, Dr. Ma. Sisa B. Fernandez, an extremely pleasant and competent doctor that my wife and I both liked. I also wrote about the other end of the spectrum, the rudest doctor in the Philippines, located at Doctor’s Hospital in Iloilo.  Dr. Fernandez had given my asawa a referral for a mammogram so off we  went to find the Mammogram Department in the hospital. mammogram

After some wandering around we finally located the Mammogram Department which was tucked away in a section of the hospital where even radiation fallout from the Fukushima nuclear power plant could not reach. However,  no one is at the reception desk. We knock on the door where the mammograms are done, but no one responds.

I,  the ever impatient Kano, open the door to a nearby unit for MRI scans, and a polite doctor tells me that he will call someone over to help us. I think the staff were quite startled to see such a handsome foreigner.   I thank him and two minutes later a gentlemen arrives who takes my wife’s contact information. We go to the cashier section,  past the shotgun-armed-guard posted inside,   to pay the mammogram fee which is P2,177.95 ($50.00.) The full cost was P 2,562.30, but we are given a P384.35 ($8.83) discount.

Take the receipt back to the Mammogram Department, and the attractive technician ( the wife of the man who took my wife’s contact information) brings my asawa into the examination room. I wait outside. About 20 minutes later and watching that x-ray light on the door  blink on and off several times and wondering how much radiation my poor asawa was being exposed to, the tech leaves.  Ten minutes pass by as I’m wondering why my spouse  is not getting dressed and exiting the room.

I don’t want to enter the examination room though I am reasonably sure my wife is the only person there. I don’t want to startle my asawa or walk in on some other naked women (well, ok, to be perfectly honest,  I wouldn’t mind walking in on some naked women, but my wife probably would beat the living crap out of me when we got home to “The Compound”.)

The attendant returns and tells us that she has checked with the X-Ray Department, and the results will be back tomorrow, Friday, at 3:30 pm. It means another trip back to Iloilo,  but I propose to my wife that we bring our  four-year-old niece JalAmiel with us and hang out at SM City and then go back to Doctor’s Hospital to get the mammogram results. My wife thinks that’s a good idea (it’s not often I hear that I have a good idea. I pause to bask with pride in that  moment.)

So the next day, Friday, arrives, and its our third day in a row going to Iloilo. We’re both getting burned out on making the daily jeepney and pump boat journey,  but at least we can spend some time bumming around SM City and relaxing. After we grab a meal at McDonald’s and wander around the mall we head out to Doctor’s Hospital at 3:00 pm.

We arrive at the entrance as my wife’s purse is searched by armed security guards, but a young   Filipina guard that was wide enough to be an offensive lineman for the Green Pay Packers calls us back after we have already passed through. Seems our four-year-old niece is not allowed inside. Children under seven cannot go past the checkpoint. I’m not happy about this but go to the waiting area where a young woman sits by her small child. I sit and fume.

Soon I notice  a man with a very young boy coming down the  corridors so I say to my niece, JalAmiel: “Grab Uncle Dave’s hand. Let’s go see Tita!” The little one quickly takes my paw and we scoot.  The female guard’s back is turned checking the contents of someone’s purse. But we don’t get very far before the Filipina sentry spots us and follows us to the Mammogram Department. She doesn’t say anything. I mutter something under my breath which cannot be repeated here.  JalAmiel and I reach the department’s reception area but no one is there except our escort.

Can’t locate my wife, but she soon comes down the hallway as she has spied us.  Told her that someone else had brought their child in so I was going to bring Amiel with me. If they want to enforce the rules, enforce them equally for everyone. Of course I direct that remark to the security guard still following us who still remains silent.

Female security personnel in the Philippines that I have seen, aside from the Philippine Army, do not carry weapons, only male security does.  So I knew she couldn’t shoot me. I was also confident that even at my advanced age I could outrun the much younger guard if necessary because I believe she had been making some extra Dunkin’ Donut runs.

We go into the examination room where the technician has already given the results to my wife, but she has not read them. My asawa hands the  envelope with the mammogram  information over to me, and I am extremely agitated  by what I see: “SUSPICIOUS BILATERAL BREAST NODULES. ULTRASOUND SUGGESTED FOR FURTHER EVALUATION.”

I politely ask the technician what this means, but she says she is sorry, but she cannot interpret the results for me. She advises an ultrasound is strongly recommended. I tell her that I absolutely want my wife to have an ultrasound done, but isn’t there anyone that can tell me what the mammogram results mean? What are “suspicious bilateral breast nodules?” I don’t want to wait until tomorrow, Saturday, when her gynecologist might not be available.

She takes me into the MRI screening room I had been in yesterday while searching for a mammogram technician, and my wife and I are escorted to the polite doctor that dispatched the tech for us yesterday. I ask him if he could explain to me what the results mean. He said that as  a woman ages such nodules are common, and that they usually are benign. A follow-up ultrasound is  urged, so I thanked him as we headed for the ultrasound department to schedule the examination, tomorrow, Saturday, at 1 pm. I’m sure we would have a sleepless night in front of us. Tomorrow’s post: The Ultrasound Results.

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

6 thoughts on “Mammogram Scare in the Philippines

  1. Wow Dave…the last few days sure have been hard on you there. I am sure you are ready for Sunday and a 6 pac of red horse and a rocking chair in the shade for some rest and relaxion. Hope all turns out ok for the Wife and things soon can be back to normal there…..

    1. That’s true, Gary. We were fortunate to go my wife’s new gynecologist’s office the same morning without an appointment and get her in to see the doctor 15 minutes later, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

      1. Dave

        Great news that the ultrasound was negative. I know you had one sleepless night. That deserves at least a six pack. Take care and be safe my friend.

        1. Thanks so much Papa Duck. Yeah, you can bet I didn’t get much sleep the night before. I was beating myself up for not getting a mammogram for my wife sooner after we moved to the Philippines, but it all turned out good.

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