My square inch

Picture of square with 1 in squared inside, with one finger on each side to show the narrow spacingI’m still pondering Brené Brown’s inspirational talk last week. I liked her suggestion that we each draw a one-inch square–that’s 6.4516 square centimetres–and write in it the names of people whose opinions matter to us. Our inch should include only people who accept us for our strengths and our shortcomings. I don’t know how small you write, but I can only fit a few names, after the dog’s, of course. (Don’t worry, if you are kind enough to support me by reading my blog, you are in my inch.) Still, I took this exercise as permission to stop worrying about what everyone thinks of me and to focus on my notable few. If I can accomplish this, I’ll save a lot of fretting time.

I may have taken this exercise a bit too far on Friday, though, when I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Eye. I should say that, even before our encounter Friday, I would never include Dr. Eye in my square inch. I’m judging a book by her cover, which I shouldn’t do, but she’s just not my inch type.

Dr. Eye sealed her inch exclusion when I saw her last week. I had had a long, gruelling, exhausted week, and figured my follow-up appointment that day would be quick. And indeed I spent barely five minutes with the doctor, after an hour-long wait during which I had increasing difficulty accessing my happy place.

I made the mistake of sharing my displeasure with the nurse and the doctor. I didn’t pout or whine; I just told both of them that I was too tired to endure such long waits. I did not say that I had leukemia and perhaps I should have, since I doubt either would have recalled my medical history given the office’s volume of patients.

In response to my concerns, the nurse reminded me that a 2-4 hour wait for each appointment was typical, implying that I should be grateful I was seen so promptly. She added that all specialists are busy. Unlikable Annie chirped back: “I see a lot of specialists.”

And the truth is, I usually don’t mind waiting for my hospital-based doctors, who have limited resources and space. I trust they’re doing the best they can. I’ve even written about this matter previously. But Dr. Eye is in a fancy, spacious private building with its own café which patients unfortunately cannot access because they might miss the moment when their name is finally called. In this setting, I can’t help but feel Dr. Eye’s overscheduling is for her own benefit.

When I’d finished complaining, the doctor determined her diagnosis was incorrect, and her course of treatment ineffective. She told me an eye surgeon would need to remove and biopsy my little lump, but I’d have to seek the referral from my family doctor; she wouldn’t refer me because I was grumpy. Was she punishing me for confronting her? I’ll never know. Remember, we covered a lot of ground in a very short time.

In response to her refusal to refer me, I insisted that, because she had recommended the course of action and she had the knowledge of the ophthalmology community, I expected her to make the referral. She reluctantly agreed. Now I can’t wait to see her referral letter. Will she tell the surgeon that, in addition to the pain in my eye, I’m just one big pain in the tuchus? (“Tuchus”, Yiddish for “butt”, is a great word for you to have in your arsenal.) If so, I’d tend to agree.

After this disaster, I doubt I’ll make the cut for Dr. Eye’s square inch. But thanks to Brené, I don’t really care about who likes me anymore.


4 thoughts on “My square inch

  1. Inch??? Don’t let this woman come to within at least a couple of yards!! If everyone is supposed to wait 2-4 hrs, does that mean she has 2 appointments per day and she works until 10 every night?!


  2. Good for you for standing up to the opthal-ocracy! More people need to raise concern to the College, the practice of constantly over-booking, which as you mention is purely for their own benefit, is not acceptable, especially when they spend so little time with each patient. And telling you to go to your family doctor for a re-referral!! Don’t get me started on how many ways that’s wrong.

    OK, I may be biased and ranting a bit. Hope I’m still in your inch – my tuchus is getting bigger every year so not sure I can squeeze into that little space…..


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