Scene: Doctor sits at his desk. In front of him is a computer. Next to him is a telephone. In his hand is a pen. When the scene opens, he is on the phone, listening and writing. Position should be so that the audience sees the doctor and his face and his writing (not the computer screen).
Above the doctor (or perhaps off to the side of the stage) is a projected image. These images change to reflect the Voice.
Voice (from the phone): I’m sorry my life is not straightforward.
Doctor: Umm, you know that’s not your fault. You don’t have to apologize.
Voice: Yes. Well, I can just make observations. And tell you them. I don’t know if they’re useful or not. I definitely don’t know what they mean.
Doctor: That’s okay. It’s a tricky situation. What’s going on?
Voice: Well, I’m in a lot of pain: here, there, and everywhere. And I’m really exhausted all the time. Like I sleep from 11pm to 7am. Then I eat breakfast. Then I’m back in bed until at least noon. It depends on my school schedule. And, oh, did I mention the chest pain? That bothers me. It makes sleeping difficult. Not in a dangerous way. Just in an annoying way.
Doctor: Yes. Ok. Let me think. Well, it could be a lot of things. Have you thought about medication W? Because it could help with sleep. Or medication WW? Because it could also do something good for you. You know, if you tried it over the weekend when you don’t have to worry about school.
Voice: Well, I guess I could try medication W over the weekend. I want to maintain things at a plateau for the most part so that I can focus on reading and studying.
Doctor: I still can’t believe how many books they expect you to read this semester. That’s… amazing.
Voice: Yes, it is. But I’ve spent a large part of my life preparing for that. So at least I know I can meet the challenge. Not like this medical stuff. That wasn’t part of the plan.
Doctor: Yes. Well. Yes. Definitely. Ok. So how about you try medication W just for the weekend…
So went my conversation with Dr. Leo yesterday. Frankly, I’m impressed that he didn’t hang up the phone or start rolling his eyes at me. (Well, I can’t say for sure that he wasn’t rolling his eyes, but it didn’t sound like it.) Even when I didn’t know how to describe things or I just wasn’t ready to try a new treatment plan, he was patient and listening, wanting to help me however he could.
We ended up having a fruitful discussion about diagnostic options regarding the small intestine bacterial overload. We talked about the treatment so far, what we could hope for in the future, what the “typical” patient response is, and what my options are looking toward the future. I think we have a concrete plan based on my life at the moment, his knowledge and understanding of the situation, and what my body is attempting to tell us (and I’m trying to observe.)
All in all, it was a very useful conversation. That moment when he told me not to apologize for my non-straightforward life? That set the tone for the whole conversation. Dr. Leo acknowledged the reality that my life is not where it ought to be and that I might need some help rectifying that. But he was quick to assure me that I’m not at fault for that. It made it so much easier to give him information even if I didn’t know it was useful. I felt at peace that he wasn’t sitting there marking a tally for how many pointless things I said and how many actually useful things I noted. Rather we were problem-solving together.
Just another day in the life,