#Physician, “Heal Thyself”: Pt. ll


As a caregiver I’m responsible for all aspects of my loved one’s care, and as Miss Cathy’s son I feel doubly responsible for her physical and emotional well-being.

To that end I have tried my best to work with doctors’ that she’s had relationships with for years as well as those that are new to both of us since her Alz diagnosis in 2010.

It’s my feeling that at the end of the day she is only as healthy and happy as her ‘team’ of doctors has helped her to be (and that means if it’s a regular check up or when she is in crisis).

My opinion(s) of her ‘team’ (of doctors) shouldn’t matter one way or another (you know what they say about ‘opinions’…) butt, of course I have one (some) and here they are:

Dr S, The Ophthalmologist

After her (seemingly) abrupt loss of vision and increasing confusion, the eye specialist was Miss Cathy’s first request of a physician to ‘see’ and it made sense since ‘suddenly’ she couldn’t.

Miss Cathy has been going to Dr S for years; a birth defect took away the sight in her left eye so she’s been dependent on her right eye her entire life.

We waited almost a week for the appointment because the receptionist said, “that was all they had” and my explanation of her situation didn’t move her to get us in any sooner.

The doctor’s assistant brought us back into a room where she performed some preliminary tests. Dr S came in soon after to take over the exam when it was clear to the assistant that Miss Cathy’s condition was anything but preliminary (and above her pay grade).

He asked her several questions, had her hold a Victorian looking contraption and told him what she could (or could not) see through it, the after some other optical tests he rendered his opinion.

He ruled out a stroke, then he said that he saw no blood behind the eye so he could only conclude that the eye was ‘healthy’ and he seemed just as puzzled as we were that she couldn’t see clearly….literally and figuratively.

When Dr S confessed that her problem might be “outside of his area of expertise” I wasn’t happy that he didn’t have a solution to the problem but I was impressed with his honesty and humility. While I find doctors to be honest I’ve seen more hubris than humility from most.

He suggested that she might need to consult a neuro-opthamalogist to determine if there was a problem between the optic nerve and the brain.

After finishing up my copious note taking I told him that she already had an appointment to see her Neurologist, Dr A next.

He asked who her General Practioner was, recognized the name and said that he would confer with him as well as the Neurologist.

“We’ll take it from there” were his parting words as he offered us his hand but no solution before saying goodbye.

We left his office knowing no more than when we first arrived but after hearing how long it took us to get an appointment Doctor S said that they were upgrading her chart to “priority” (kinda like being bumped unexpectedly to Business Class from Coach).

I walked out feeling as if he was either trying to express some sense of urgency for her condition or that it was just some bullshit gesture for a flight (diagnosis) delayed.

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