If We Were Having Coffee – Jan.18/2015 GUEST POST

A Rare Appointment

Paul your Barista

Paul your Barista

Welcome to Willow’s weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here once again. Please come in and make yourself comfortable. Willow has plumped the cushions and started a cozy fire so we can warm ourselves while we have a cuppa and chat. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our world-wide readership. Also available is a large selection of spirits for addition to your cuppa or in its place. We can relax while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. How has your week been?

It has been a chilly week here in Ottawa, forcing everyone to scuttle from one building to another in an attempt to stay warm. Right now, as I write this, it is -23 C (about -15 F) with a wind chill in the -30’s. Brrrr! So, anyway I had scuttled to the hospital one morning for a consult with a new (to me) doctor who will perform a minor surgery on me in a few months. It is another domino in the dialysis chain that has fallen and the procedure is necessary to straighten out a side effect. I am told that it is minimal invasive but necessary and will require a few days stay as an inpatient. Anyway, I have never met this doctor before, so, of course, we have to go though my sordid medical history and I am to be poked and prodded to ascertain my medical fitness to qualify. Now this is an “ENT” (Ear, nose, throat) doc, so it’s all about my head and neck and the parts therin.


(See that headrest? I thought it was for my comfort – WRONG. It is to keep my head from running away )when a probe targets my nose – AAARGH!.)

I present myself and am ushered in short order into an exam room. My wait is minimal and two young (my God they don’t look a day over 19) med students (3rd year)  and introduce themselves – Dana and Pirya. Sigh. They are eager and humble and attentive and ask my permission (imagine that, a doc who asks permission) to do all the prelim work for the record before I see the doctor. There are advantages to this hospital being a teaching institution – all the docs are not old and grumpy. Ha! Of course, faced with two young, attractive women who ask me to talk about myself, while they listen attentively, is not unpleasant and off I go on my favorite topic – me.

This back and forth goes on for a bit and then they inform me that they would like to check a few things, again with my permission. Then they proceed to pore over my head, looking in every orifice and discussing their observations with each other and me (amazingly). I have to tell you, I was impressed. For the first time, in as long as I can remember, a doctor (or a pair of doctors) began to list all the things that were right with me. As I sat there they each declared both of my ears in excellent shape (“What am I looking for? “ “If you shine the light at an angle right there (positions instrument for partner to look) you will see a reflection off the ear drum and you can see that it is all symmetrical and clear and very good looking.”) I have never had my ears checked and often wondered if I was taking good care of them – having never used any of the oft toted ear products such as swabs. I felt as if I had perhaps ignored my ears and they were waiting to wreck havoc. But no, in two professional opinions, they were as good as the day they first started hearing. And pronounced so by two attractive young women.

Then they want to look down my throat and with the help of another oddly shaped light and a tongue depressor, proceed to tell me that my throat looks wonderful (my words), that my gums look very healthy and that there is no sign of any irregularities in any of the linings. Pushing my tongue around, one doc holding the light and the other the depressor, they examined it, top, sides, bottom, and declared it too a fine specimen of a tongue, well maintained and definitely worthy of my head. Ha! All this they do with an air of humbleness and constant requesting of my permission. Often one will say “I’ve never done this before” and the other would reply “Oh, let me show you.”

Then they decide to check all the lymph nodes in my neck, a procedure that involved standing behind me and basically massaging my neck and throat as they looked for the nodes. They knew where they all were – and there are apparently a whack of them – in theory but finding them in real life was a challenge. Then of course, once one doc had found some, they would change places and the other doc would find them too. I must have shown some signs that I was enjoying this as Dana asked if it was pleasant. I replied that they could look for nodes in my back too when they were done. Ha! They pronounced all my lymph nodes in perfect condition. Whew, I was batting a thousand They were busy marveling as they watched my thyroid move up and down while I swallowed sips of ice water, when the doctor herself entered. No one had ever paid much attention or been so riveted by my swallowing before and I was quite pleased.

Apparently, from their reaction, I was doing it especially well and I felt proud. The real doc – Dr. McLean – is also a sharp looking woman but about my age with an amused smile and a no-nonsense manner. “So, I hear a lot of laughter from this room, are we all having a good time?” As the students watched she went over the procedure and did a nasty but quick test by inserting a probe through my nose and down my throat – again declaring all she saw as in good shape. We exchanged some info about procedure timing and such and she left. Just before going, and apparently looking for a learning experience for her charges, she asked if I would mind explaining my dialysis fistula to the two students. I am sure she knew I was enjoying this and playing to my ego was a fine way to keep her students busy.

And so I set off on a show and tell of my dialysis fistula to my rapt audience of two. Not a large gathering but certainly one of my best performances. Ha! A while later, the doc stuck her head back into the room and thanked me and departed with my audience, who left with a cheery good bye, a wave, and a thank you. A nurse appeared, gave me a brace of forms to complete and sign. Having done that, I was free to go.

As I walked down the hallway I realized that this was the very first time I had ever had a doctor’s visit where I had been told what wonderful shape I was in and been given a list of all the things that were good and right with me. It occurred to me that doctors likely see all these things normally but don’t mention them –either because of time constraints or the normalcy of their observations. It would be great of all the good things could be mentioned occasionally. The time and attention of the young students certainly didn’t detract any from all the good news either. Have you ever left a doctor’s office feeling more positive than when you entered? It’s a nice change.

That’s about all we have room for this week, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and watch the fire. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Willow for her invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Willow’s other posts while you’re here. Willow is over there serving her guests and chatting it up. Let’s go see how she is today. Have a great week. We look forward to seeing you back here for tea again next week.

And of course  the


over at Part Time  Monster  and Gene’O’s

40 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paul
    Jan 17, 2015 @ 22:37:12

    Hi Willow! thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post here on your blog. I figured in the vein of all the positive posts you have done this week, that I’d best keep it positive too. Hope all is well with you.


  2. willowdot21
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 00:16:43

    Hi Paul, what an excellent post, looks like we have both had fairly good experiences with health care this week! I am so please the young Med Students treated you so well, you deserve the respect would that all patients were afforded the same from their Drs and nurses !
    I have once again submitted your post to the Coffee post share over at partimemonster, I am running late and will try and post my coffee post tomorrow. I must away to be now before the husband looses his patience with me! Be well and happy Paul .xxxxxxxxxxxx


  3. markbialczak
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 01:17:24

    This indeed was an excellent post, Paul, and to hear how your attentive med students gave you positive reinforcement as they checked your ears and neck lymph nodes in your throat was indeed a treat. If only we all were told good medical news like this as tests were being conducted, the old doctor-dread would be for less widespread, would it not?

    Now, unfortunately, I must share with you the last time my primary care doctor, a man of my own age whom I’ve entrusted with my care for a quarter century and trust implicitly, had a med student involved with my regular physical. It was an eager young male med school student, good-looking enough, I guess, though I was judging that less than you were the young women looking you over in your story here today. And it was time for my prostate exam.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 08:18:51

      Paul is on his way with a strongly laced coffee Mark! xx


    • Paul
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 09:14:59

      Hi Mark! Thanks for dropping by for a cuppa (or something a bit stronger) and a chat. Yes, that was the best consult I’ve ever had. I must admit that being told how many things were right certainly gave me a lot more hope to deal with that which was wrong. I hope your prostate exam went well. I actually found the solution to that – as odd as it may seem. I have a female doctor with very small hands and she is excellent. Still not pleasant but not nearly as bad. When i had a car there was a particular shop I went to for regular maintenance that had a female mechanic with small hands as well. She was the only one who could change a headlight on my car without loosening the rad (the headlight casing was very close to the radiator frame and the bulbs were hard to manipulate). There is something to be said for the female build. Ha! Women – what would we do without them?

      Have another cuppa Mark and thanks so much for the visit. Please drop by again.


  4. MamaMickTerry
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 13:20:16

    Oh! I loved this story!
    It gives me hope for our young med students and healthcare in general. Compassion and fun and warmth are what I always tried to teach my students during rotation, too. What a wonderful reinforcement you just shared.
    Best wishes on your surgery and congratulations on a great visit!
    You rock! (literally!)


    • willowdot21
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 14:06:27

      Woo hop ! I agree 😉 with you Mama M T. Paul is on his way with a cuppa and some treats for you. Xx


    • Paul
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 14:52:32

      Hi Mama! Welcome, welcome! Wat would you like to drink?We have beverages from all over. Thanks so much for dropping by to read and comment. It was an very unusual appt for sure. You know the more I think about it, the more i realize how right you are – it would take so little for doctors to mention all the good things or at least some as they go about their duties. No doubt the amount of time spent was not realistic – it couldn’t be supported with paid docs – I understand that. Which is one of the reasons why i like teaching hospitals – it can also be fun teasing the new docs. And you know that a comment made to them at this point will stick forever. They are open to learn. I managed to get plug on there too about my distaste for the modern “pick an organ” style of career definition by doctors. How the patients so often fall into the cracks between the organs – which is what happened to me and is why i had kidney failure. The radio-oncologists said it was a urology problem and urology said it was a radiation problem. No one saw it as my problem. It could have been prevented 100%. But, hey, I’m alive and I wouldn’t have been otherwise, so what can I say?

      I’m sure the procedure will go well Mama – barring acts of God. Thanks again for the visit. Please have another cuppa and an e-sweet (no calories!) and drop by again soon.


  5. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 14:21:30

    If only all health care in the future would change to the experience you had, Paul, instead of the hurry, hurry to which most of us have become accustomed. 🙂

    Glad to hear you’ve had a good week. This arctic c.o.l.d. is terrible. I don’t go out unless I must! B-r-r.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 14:32:14

      Hi Tess lovely of you to drop in, I do agree it would be so lovely to feel as if we were not just an inconvenient number! Paul is on his way with a hot drink to warm you up!! 🙂 xxxxxx


    • Paul
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 15:03:36

      Good day Tess! Great to see you here – please have a seat and i’ll bring you a hot drink. Warm yourself by the fire for as long as you like. Yes, it would be wonderful if all appointments could be like that wouldn’t it? i had deliverately set this appointment up so i could go directly to dialysis from there – just down the hall. I had left 1 1/2 hours for the appt and I actually had to ask them to call dialysis for me and explain that I would be delayed. I arrived an hour after my expected time – so i was 2 1/2 hours on the one appt and I am sure that i waited no more than 1/2 hour and i spent 1/4 hour doing paperwork – so i was with the docs for 1 3/4 hours – amazing isn’t it? I didn’t actually figure that out until now – that’s pretty astounding. i left there with every question answered and with a real positive attitude. Such a rare appt – I will cherish that one as I don’t not expect it to be repeated any time soon.

      Thanks so much for the visit Tes and please have another cuppa (cappucino, isn’t it?). Stay and warm yourself by the fire. We’ll see you next week.


  6. Exile on Pain Street
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 14:41:07

    Do you ever get used to -23? Is it possible?

    The doctor who took out my appendix was extraordinarily attractive. It rattled me a bit.

    The photo of the ear is gross. Don’t know why I found it so, but it is. Do you know why people close their eyes when they kiss? Because NOBODY is attractive when you’re that close.

    I deal with some pretty annoying things in my life but I’ll tell you something I’m very happy about and for which I consider myself lucky: I am healthy enough that I don’t have doctors in my life. I hope this sustains. Everything else is just an annoyance in comparison.


    • willowdot21
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 15:03:21

      Hello Mark glad to hear that you are at least healthy!! 🙂 Paul is on hs way with your favourite beverage !!


    • Paul
      Jan 18, 2015 @ 15:29:11

      Hi Mark! Welcome! Yeah, you know, I wanted an image of an ear and chose that one , but it does make me feel a bit unsettled too – not sure why. It is a Wiki pic , so no copyright issues, but I should have found another way to depict the ear – maybe a drawing. I considered leaving this post without pics, but they really help to break up and pace the prose. I have to figure out a way to take pics as i go along to add to posts – the real ones like you use, are so much better. I’ll work on that Mark – thanks for the heads up.

      On the getting used to -23, the actual answer, in my life right now, is “No”, you never get used to it and i’ll tell you why. It’s because we are constantly going into and out of buildings – so the temp change is so startling each time and we don’t dress properly. I have had jobs where i worked outside in temps that cold or colder and as long as you are dressed for it, -23 isn’t bad at all. Again, it is all in being dressed properly – and we seldom do when we know it will just be a few minutes in the cold. Unless you’ve visited specialty shops Mark, you will not find the proper winter attire in regular stores in your area for temps like that. And layering is critical, each layer having an air cushion to the next layer. To give you and example – when I was delivering fuel we would have to stand for an hour or more beside the shut-off valves while the fuel was unloading. i would have a thermal undershirt, then a heavy shirt, then a sweater and then a vest and then over top of that a big parka that came down to my knees. then I had my safety vest on top of all that. A balaclava over my head with a helmet on top and the parka hood over that. The collar of the parka turned up to cover mouth and nose, so only eyes were visible and those were covered with safety glasses that kept in heat. I could be outside for extended times even at -40 in that and be warm. We used to deliver up in the Arctic Watershed and the temp would get below -40 and that was cold. I was absolutely huge with all those clothes on and had to turn sideway to fit through doorways – of course, I’m 6’3″ and 250 lbs to start.

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by Mark, I am honored and sorry about the verbose reply. Please come by again.


  7. Lisa
    Jan 18, 2015 @ 15:24:53

    This was so good to hear. Keep your head up, Paul. 🙂


  8. ~ Sadie ~
    Jan 21, 2015 @ 07:45:13

    First – OMG -15 degrees, not sure I could hang with that at all, I am so cold natured 😦

    Second – so glad your appt. went well and YES it is rare to have a doctor spend so much time examining you. Touche for them & you!!


  9. cordeliasmom2012
    Mar 25, 2015 @ 14:22:21

    I’m just now going through all of your posts, and I must say you sure have a way of making ordinary events read-worthy! I’ve been to an ENT doctor and don’t recall it being so satisfying. You are the King!


  10. Paul
    Mar 25, 2015 @ 15:16:43

    I think it was the opportunity to lecture 2 doctors for 15 minutes that really made my day. You gotta get ’em early and hit ’em hard. ha! Thanks so much for dropping by CM. Such a pleasure to have you here. Hey, did you get the new version (1.2) of Busted? Y’all come by again, ya hear?


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