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.

Winding roads
this sign depicts my life for the past many miles (and probably many miles to come)

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?

ATM Machines in Panama
let’s keep trying cards until something works!!

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.

the doctor is probably rolling his eyes now

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.

Hanging books detail
studying, studying, and more studying

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,


10 thoughts on “Act Two, Scene Two

  1. I just love your doctors, they are so great – listening to your symptoms, reassuring you and remembering equally that the illness isn’t the patient’s fault, and they are suffering more than the doctor who can’t help! Always trying new things too, but letting you be in control. They just seem so good. In the midst of everything awful, you really have been blessed with some good folk around you 🙂

  2. It sounds like your docs may think you an interesting and challenging case. I think you just continue to give them all the information about your symptoms and let them try to make heads or tails of it…. and the sooner the better! 🙂

    1. Thanks Emma. I’ve had so many eye-rolling doctors in the past. I feel so blessed that my current doctors treat me differently.

      I think you’re right. There is something in it for them as well. 🙂 Yes. I suppose I shouldn’t be shy about sharing information and observations.

      Thanks for reading & commenting!


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