Dr A was the neurologist on call at Doctor’s Hospital where Miss Cathy was recovering after an accident in 2010. He was brought in the evaluate her after I noticed that she didn’t seem quite right even though the hospital was about to discharge her because she’d (luckily) not sustained any broken bones after her fall and her vital signs were all normal.
And sure enough, after a series of tests Dr A concluded that she had Dementia, Stage one Alzheimer’s.
I left my life to join hers soon after and became her primary caregiver.
It made sense to add Dr A to her ‘team’ of doctors since she was comfortable with him and he was the doctor that diagnosed her condition.
When I first met the doctor I took note of his professionalism, directness and knowledge of the disease (which at the time I only had a “Lifetime Movie of the Week” awareness of).
Once she was back home we saw Dr A at his private practice near her condo.
I was a fast learner and not just about the disease. One of the things I learned was that a doctor’s beside manner in the hospital is one thing and how he runs his practice to be quite another.
In time I became dissatisfied with Dr A and had to remember that I was the caregiver and not the patient. Miss Cathy by all accounts (and after direct questioning) was pleased with his care.
I had to remind myself of what one of best friends said to me early on, “Regardless of your personal opinions or feelings toward any of the ‘team’ all I have to do is collaborate with the doctors and get them to collaborate with one another”.
My friend stressed the word ’collaborate’ so many times that it’s all I can remember.
In my mind’s eye I couldn’t help but see the duck from the old Groucho Marx TV show drop down from the ceiling on a string with the word ‘collaborate’ written in block letters on a piece of paper hanging from it’s beak.
But, this was not some late night talk show with a panel of ‘B’ list actors from the Golden Age of Television and I was not a quick witted, Jewish comedian with a sight gag. I was dealing with a humorless doctor and a parent/patient that was content.
So, as the months turned into years and as the appointments with Dr A started to accumulate I started to question his methods and wonder if another neurologist could serve my mom better…or was this just about me and my ability to collaborate?
No matter, Miss Cathy was happy with Dr A, and in her eyes he could do no wrong…that was until a loss of vision caused her to see him in a different way.