Dear Dr. Liver:
I’ve had such a fantastic medical team these past few years that I was saddened to hear you’ve accepted a trade south. Despite the tears in my eyes when you told me, I want you to know how thrilled I am that you will be pursuing a new challenge in a different city, even if it means my losing your care. I can feel thrilled for you and sorry for myself, can’t I?
In the 11 years since you were saddled with my care, you have treated both me and J. with the utmost of kindness, respect, and professionalism. You have been unusually punctual, of course, and patiently addressed my long lists of concerns. You have been there in the background when that’s all I’ve needed, and jumped into action when my liver required more attention. You have tolerated my addressing you by first name and even offered your email address if I ever needed to reach you urgently. Why, just last weekend, you responded promptly to an inappropriate intrusion and then skipped your lunch a few days later to meet with us.
I also wanted to make sure you don’t forget that time a few years back when I was circling the drain in the ICU, when my chemo and my liver were duking it out and the chemo was winning. You really showed your true colours then. Throughout my ICU stay, you visited often and made yourself available for consultation. But one particular Sunday stands out in my mind. (That’s not exactly true; I have no recollection of that day but J. told me about it later and I believe everything she says.) You were not on call that weekend, but you unexpectedly showed up in the ICU to check on me. Despite the fact that I recall nothing, I will forever feel both guilty that you took the time away from your family–I am Jewish after all–and grateful that you made the time to check in on me. I don’t know if I would have made it through without your care. I owe you my life.
I hope your move works out brilliantly for both you and your family. I know you’ll be as nice to the many gay people in your new city as you have been to us. Oh, and one important insider tip (those of us who can’t drink have to find something to do in wine country): the several kids you’ve had since we first met might enjoy the Jelly Belly Factory tour even more than I did at 46, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the sugar-laden gift shop.
You described the physician you have referred me to as smart and affable and even more handsome than you. All three remain to be seen, but I do trust your judgement implicitly and I look forward to meeting him. Let him know that even though I’m a psychologist, I’m a wee bit anxious about everything, would you? And please skip the part about my being high maintenance or he may refuse to take me on.
With deepest gratitude,
Annie (and J. too, of course)