A Benign Hair Style

, , , , , | Healthy | April 3, 2019

(My mom is an x-ray tech at a world-renowned children’s hospital. Patient welfare is the top priority, so they try to minimize tests and procedures as much as possible.)

Mom: *walks into the break room to see two doctors and an x-ray tech — all male — looking at a series of films*

Doctor #1: “Obviously, we need to operate, cancerous or not. So, I say we just skip the biopsy and go straight in. We don’t want to put her under twice for no reason!”

Doctor #2: “I agree, but these tumors are very unique. I’ve never seen anything quite like them, and with them being so close to both her heart and her lungs, I’m worried about what will happen if we do take them out. We don’t know how firmly they’re attached or entrenched in either of those organs.”

Mom: *curious* “Do you mind if I have a look at the films? If you haven’t seen a tumor like this before, it must be very rare.”

Doctor #2: “By all means.”

([Doctor #2] hands over the films, and then continues to debate with his colleague about how quickly they can schedule the surgery, while Mom spends a few minutes looking closely at the x-rays.)

Mom: “Um, guys? We’ve got a problem here, but I don’t think it’s the problem you think it is.”

Tech: “What do you mean?”

Mom: “I don’t think that’s a tumor.”

Doctor #1: “Of course it’s a tumor! What else could it be?”

Mom: “A hair tie.”

All: “WHAT?!”

Mom: “You know, those little round hair ties? The elastic kind with a pair of balls on the ends that little girls like?”

Doctor #2: “Yes, my daughter uses those. But what makes you think…”

Mom: “These tumors are perfectly round, they’re both exactly the same size, they slightly overlap, and if you look really closely, this one even has a hole through it… exactly where the elastic would be.”

All: *looks like she just hit them in the face with a board*

Tech: “You can’t be serious!”

Mom: “Do you want me to retake the film, just in case? I mean, I don’t want to expose her to more radiation, but better a single film than opening her rib cage! And if I’m wrong, then fine. But we wouldn’t want to operate on a child without being certain.”

Doctor #2: “Do it. Fast! She’s in room [number].”

Mom: “On it!”

(She runs up to the girl’s room:)

Mom: “Hi! I’m [Mom], one of the x-ray techs here at [Hospital]. There was a little problem with one of your daughter’s x-rays, so we need to retake it really fast. No need to worry!”

Girl: “I wiggled, didn’t I?”

Mom: “Don’t worry, sweetie. You just need to hold still for one last picture, I promise!”

(Mom, the girl, and her mother all head down to Radiology. When then get to the door, Mom asks the girl to take off her hair tie — yes, one of the kind with the little plastic balls! — from the end of the braid hanging down her back.)

Girl: “Do I have to? The other guy didn’t make me, and I don’t want my braid coming out!”

Mom: “Here. Let me see if I can find you an elastic. We just can’t have the little baubles; they might confuse the doctors when they’re reading your x-ray.” *goes to her purse and digs out an elastic of her own* “Here you go! Your mom can help you change that, and then she can wait right outside the door. We’ll only be a minute.”

(After helping the girl wrap a protective apron around her waist and hips, Mom took the film, and then the girl went back to her room. Mom immediately developed the film, and, as predicted, there were no tumors. The little girl was treated for her pneumonia and was sent home, healthy and happy, a week later. It became hospital policy after that to check for hair ties, barrettes, bobby pins, etc., before taking any x-rays.)

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