I’m anti-change and I’m proud of it. I like routines, I like predictability, my only spontaneity is planned. I wish I were wild and crazy but I’m not. Remember, for years I worked part-time at the library. I loved that darn immutable Dewey decimal system.
I appreciate continuity in my health care as well, and I’ve been lucky to see many of my physicians for the long haul. Over time, they get to know my needs and quirks while I do my best to keep them entertained, which is my small way of giving back.
With this in mind, imagine how hard it was for me to go to Dr. Liver’s clinic yesterday knowing he would not be there to see me. [Insert sad emoji here.] Thankfully, to soften the blow, some aspects of the clinic had not changed. I still fussed when the lovely nurse asked me to step on the scale, and, sadly, she dismissed my request that she record her own weight instead of mine, as she always does.
J. and I were led to a different examining room, although you’d never know it since the posters on the wall were identical. Yes, every time we go to Dr. Liver’s office, we are confronted with the poo chart, among other wall adornments. The poo chart helps people identify their #2 for the doctor if they can’t come up with appropriately descriptive language. (Yes, you can buy a mug with this image on it, although I find that notion somewhat distasteful.) I don’t mind the poo chart, but I find the other posters of progressive liver disease a touch unsettling.
My poster viewing was interrupted by the entrance of Dr. Liver the 2nd, whom I had met briefly when I was hanging out in the palliative unit a few months back. Thankfully, Dr. Liver’s choice of back up hitter was a good one. Somehow Dr. Liver 2 recalled every moment of our first conversation. He obviously knows his stuff, and in time he’ll know me. I felt good enough about this visit that I decided to transfer to him his predecessor’s moniker.
There was one moment of doubt, though, when he offered to do an upcoming procedure without sedation. That way, I’d be alert and could drive myself home. My inside voice said: “Is he insane?” But with my outside voice, I easily convinced him that he would regret performing any procedure on me without sedation. I can’t recall my exact words, but it may have been something subtle like: “Over my dead body.”
This interaction brought us back to the harsh reality that our relationship is in its infancy and that we will need time to fully understand and appreciate one another. Thankfully, because of his stellar memory, my new liver healer will retain my preference for sedation for perpetuity. But if he dares to suggest I forego sedation in the future, I’ll be the one you’ll see fleeing down the hall in my hospital gown.