Can I have a do over? Just one?

Road sign with words: Second chance just ahead.

Last year I bought a new car, and today I picked up new glasses. I’d show them to you because they bring out the colour in my eyes (the optician told me so) but that might interfere with the whole incognito thing.

Who’d have thought I’d live to need progressive lenses? Look, I’m still here! Now I can write my blog with more (screen) clarity. Maybe you could let me know whether I have fewer careless errors in my posts.

Last week I determined that I don’t have OCD, but I still have obsessive thoughts, many of which I’m wise enough not to share. (Physical scientists aren’t the only ones who look at things under microscopes.) I thought you might indulge me with one last ruminative monologue on my oral storytelling earlier this week.

At the end of the talk, one of the attendees asked: “What do you want us to take from this talk?” (Forgive me, dear attendee, because I am paraphrasing here.) My response was dismal. I was disjointed and unclear.

I blame my inside voice for this failure. First it said: “I have absolutely no idea.” Then, “I’m totally spent. Don’t you realize it’s nap time? Can I get back to you on that when my mind is fully functioning again?” Then it screamed (remember it’s my inside voice, so no one heard): “I’ll just pass the question off to my fearless leader, Jess Dollard. I’m sure she could answer much better than I could!” But my inner grown up realized that would be a bit childish. So I blathered.

Now that I’ve had three days to obsess about what I said, I would like a do-over if I could. Here it comes.

Dear Kind Questioner:

You can take whatever you choose from my story. Depending on your experiences with your own patients, you may resonate with different ideas. Still, I’ll try to respond now that I’ve had hours and hours and hours to stew about your question.

  1. Attentive care is critical to a patient, and inattentive care is distressing. I’m a layperson, so I don’t know how to determine whether you’re a good physician or not. Rather, I focus on whether you are there when the (low-salt) chips are down. I’m not asking for warm and fuzzy–that’s not even my style and I’m a psychologist–just respectful and responsive.
  2. I know this lemon body of mine will not last forever, so in the meantime, I ask you to do what you can to keep me as well as you can. Demonstrate you care about my quality of life while I am here. And be honest with me always, even if the news is bad. I need these things in order to be able to trust you, and if I don’t trust you, I’ll have to break up with you. You don’t want me to do that because I’m a good catch.
  3. Even though I’ve previously had medical care that wasn’t ideal, I am blessed with wonderful care now. And, as my life-saver was quick to point out to the group, many of you have supported my care indirectly. My gratitude is boundless.

With appreciation,


P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to all. May each of you have lots to be grateful for.


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