Some days, I’m reminded how blessed I am by certain people in my life. I’m tempted to post on facebook: “Blessed by someone special today” but I have a feeling that everyone is going to misinterpret that and start asking, Who’s your special friend? When are you getting married? You would think it was the regency era!

This week has been long already. I got called out twice in church yesterday. I have lots of work due tomorrow. My pain is really high and my lack of stamina is really getting in the way of studying.

In the middle of all of this, I had my follow-up appointments with my GI physician, Dr. Leo. Ever feel that you feel so awful that you don’t even want to go to the doctor? That is how I felt this morning. It took forever to find a parking space and then another eternity in the waiting room. The nurse who took my vitals was extremely scattered, and they didn’t have a room for Dr. Leo, so even though I was his first patient, they had to send me back into the waiting room. There’s nothing that I hate more than feeling like the clinic is in chaos. Now, I really wish I was home in bed with a pillow over my head.

Fortunately, they found a room & called me fairly quickly. I know I wasn’t in the room very long because I didn’t have almost any time to stare at the walls or finish my reading. Dr. Leo knocked and then he came in. First thing he said, “Nice to see you.”

He sat down, apologized for not returning my call last week, and then just started talking about my case with me. He was very calm and patient and listened to whatever I had to say. He received a page when he was talking to me, so I politely stopped talking so he could read it; he immediately apologized and asked me to resume my story. I showed him the seven step plan a fellow had written for me at a specialty appointment & explained to Dr. Leo why I hadn’t followed through with anything. He nodded and looked at it and said, “Well, some of the things, particularly the medications, are things that were running through my head.” He explained his reasoning and said, “I’ll have to talk to Dr. Samuel about these new developments and devise a plan to move forward.” We chatted some more about medications and side effects and how things were going in the broader context. Then he asked, “Anything else you want to talk about?”

I really wanted to ask him if he could intervene in my school situation. My program has been giving me a very hard time and asking me to leave because of my physical condition, and it’s been particularly frustrating to deal with all the time. But, in the moment, I could sense Dr. Leo’s compassion and patience. He wanted for me to collect my thoughts, explain my situation, and ask for his help.

I realized that what makes me really comfortable and at peace talking with Dr. Leo is that he’s not in a hurry and he commands respect with his knowledge and humility. All the chaos in the office, even the people frantically talking and walking outside the exam room door — he didn’t let it bother him or distract him. He is careful not to criticize other doctors and their opinions even when he has a different opinion or when I’m clearly frustrated. (One thing that drives chronic patients crazy is when doctors either blame their patients or criticize patients for following other doctors’ advice.) He takes the time to listen to me, even if it means waiting for me to put my thoughts together or returning my phone calls multiple times. He doesn’t constantly talk about his other patients and all the work he’s done; his thoughtfulness and questions he asks testify to his expertise.

I feel relaxed and cared for with Dr. Leo. I know that he’s devoting all his intellect and expertise to my case because I really matter to him and my voice and my feelings matter as well. The blessing that is to a young woman who feels like she’s losing control of the world around her is unmeasurable. As I reflect and thank God for bringing this doctor into my life, I’m grateful for the ways in which God has chosen to bless me and to care for me.

Ever grateful,
Abigail Cashelle



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