A Rare Appointment
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.
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