Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My assessment of my medical team

In the past year I have gathered quite a collection of concerned medical professionals, they invite me to their workplaces and give me rafts of paper and needle pokes and bruises and they work to keep me alive.  I learn from them, I get scars from them, they make me cry, they make me laugh, they confuse me and they amuse me.  Time for me to give something in return... 

I have mentioned before the "posse" of friends and family that are incredibly supportive to myself and my family, and I have come to recognize the individuals in my posse inadvertently have different roles ie. the Cheerleader, the Researcher, the Curser, the Warden, the Florist, the Chef... My cancer posse is my lifeline. Or my pillow and blankie. 

Rightly adjacent to my cancer posse is my medical team.  I want to share their specialties in the way I see them - maybe it's the chemo-brain perspective or just my imagination running wild - these descriptions are not meant in any malice, and I will not mention their names as I do not intend any slander.  Just sharing one angle of my perspective on all of the medical people that make our health care system go round.  

I'll start with the Endocrinologists - they are the Nerds of the crowd.  Sorry guys, don't get me wrong, I love nerds (have been called one a time or two!!), and we need you brainiacs to sort out whatever mysterious stuff goes on in our endocrine systems.  Who better to be expert on glands and hormonal systems than the nerds, I really don't want them to mess that up! :-)

The Surgeons:  I have had the unique pleasure of experiencing four surgeons to date, and my assessment is that they are the Artists.  They are masters with their hands, they aren't afraid to start something intangible and stick with it until it is done to their satisfaction.  They flit around in their decorative head covers and sometimes even sing during surgery. True story!

The Anesthetists, they are the Invisible Man.  You see their names on your surgery reports, you meet them, and then halfway through your greeting to them zzzzzzzzzzzz they're gone.

The Dermatologist:  She is the Ice Queen.  Flawlessly fair-skinned and floating above her chair, she obliquely addresses my situation with the air of knowing that it is because of people like me she has to shake her head and tisk any time anyone anywhere sees a ray of light from the big bad sun.

The Radiation Oncologist (with whom I meet every six months but have not actually had her treatment):  she is the Goth.  She likes tattoos and to zap people.

The Social Worker: the Heart. The private place where I can indulge my emotions, good or bad... or as the Heart would say: embrace the comfortable and the uncomfortable feelings.  

Nuclear Medicine Physicians:  I have not yet met them but I suspect they will strike me as the Experimenters, they are the children of those fathers who secretly built rocket ships in their basements.  We actually had one of those in the small town where I went to high school... I remember their street, and the eerie glow coming from the end of it. 

The Medical Oncologist:  She is The Boss. The MOB Boss.  She is on top of everything, she's smooth, she's good, she's got my back, she wears leather, she's my very own Tony Soprano.

The Nurses:  they are the Flowers.  They are all over the medical garden, at the reception desks, on the phones, in the hospital rooms, at home, everywhere you want them to be and sometimes where you really don't want them to be, but you appreciate them regardless. There are sunflowers and daisies, aloe vera plants and forget-me-nots, roses, definitely not pansies!  And there are also the likes of stinging nettles and thistles (such as the one who I reported to her supervisor for yelling at my elderly/disoriented/post-op neighbour in the middle of the night. Grrr!), so beware... treat them all with sugar-water and step lightly, they have the ability to make or break the scene. 

The Lab Technicians, obvious: Vampires. 'nuff said. 

The Naturopathic Doctor: the Neglected House Plant.  I want to run to my valuable green friend but I can't find my way to her from this pharmaceutical maze in which I am trapped.

The Radiologists: Sherlock Holmes.  They read black and white pictures of my insides and discover clues to my medical mysteries. It is Professor Plum in the Liver Room with the Poisoned Apple!

Mmm..the Pathologists: oh wow, I haven't yet decided, as I try not to think of them too much, they have only given me bad news to date, well except for the girls' moles, they did redeem themselves a bit on that one.  I imagine they liked to play in mud when they were kids, they are the Mud-Pie Makers.  They dissected dead creatures they found in the dark forest and created haunted doll house fences with their tiny bones.  

The Family Physician, She is the glue that holds it all together: the Saviour.  She makes sure I am sitting down before she gives me bad news, and she picks me up when I fall anyway... she medicates my pain, and soothes my shattered nerves, she answers my questions and thinks of me even when I am not bugging her. She kicks my ass.  She calls me to cheer for the good news.  She is my Interpretor, my liason with the world of oncology, she is my mother, my sister, my guardian, and my Hero.  She is the person I want to be when I grow up. 

Article © Natalie Richardson 2015

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