The past few weeks, I’ve been saying goodbye to a lot of people. It’s been hard. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to admit that my life is going to change. And it’s hard to keep track of all the things people want me to remember and to try.
I figured out pretty early on that Drs. Samuel & Leo had taken me on as a special patient, someone they were each invested in for their own reasons. It makes sense. They’re both research clinicians or physicians that mainly spend a lot of time doing research. (Not sure what the technical name for it is.) Anyhow, it makes sense that if they are successful in managing my case, they could turn it into a paper, and it would advance their career.
But there always seemed to more than that. Dr. Leo talked to the ravenous lion. And wrote letters to the lion’s colleagues. He even read/skimmed my dissertation proposal. Who does that?? That’s more than a research paper in the works. Plus, he spend hours of time on the phone with me, trying to understand not only my medical symptoms but also my life, my activities, my interests. Of course, all of this blends into how he thinks about my case & treatment for it. But it also helped me a lot because my health has become so much a part of my life and my friendships and even my career. It helped me conceptualize things and not to become robotic when it comes to medicine. It also meant that I was extremely comfortable talking to him about hard things that were happening in my life, which he probably ought to know about… like the fact that my sister was having severe depression and didn’t want anyone to know about it and I ended up being the one called upon to stage an intervention.
I wrote earlier about Dr. Samuel and saying goodbye. My last visit with Dr. Leo was even more interesting. Our discussion was fairly complex. But he wound up saying, I can still by your physician from afar. We have email and the phone. Plus, you said before that you might drive up here anyways.
There’s an aspect where it’s not clear that I’ll have another gastroenterologist right away. There are parts of my illness that are clearly digestive related. But, in another sense, Dr. Leo pointed out that a rheumatologist would likely manage my case similarly to the one he would look at my case. (And I have a rheumatologist in mind in my hometown.)
Transitioning medical care is going to be interesting. Dr. Leo says that the key will be finding a Dr. Mark equivalent, someone who can oversee my case at large and who I’m comfortable working with. The rest will fall into place eventually.
But in the mean time, I think I might have a case of “favorite patient syndrome”. Not only are these doctors intellectually invested in my case, but over the past two years they have also become emotionally invested in me. They’ve come to know me, which means that they have been amazing physicians who have helped me to grow as a person and to learn to live well with my illness. It means that they have had unique insights into my conditions and have been able to guide me through some very difficult medication trials and diagnostic tests. It also means that it’s hard for all of us to let go. Drs. Leo & Samuel will always be big (positive) players in my time spent here. The fact that they care so much about me means that they like me as a person (despite my awful & challenging illness) and that they believe that things will turn around or that I won’t always be weighed down by this. (Who wants to follow a tragedy?) And it means they’re truly human. My sense of what made them good doctors for me was right. It just makes saying goodbye hard.
Until next time,