Physician, #HealThyself: Pt. lVb Dr A


Miss Cathy has seen Dr A at least a dozen times in the last 2 1/2 years.

During her appointments he’d perform a few rudimentary tests to check her short-term memory and cognitive skills after which he’d determine that she was more or less the same…which was good news.

And so it was year after year, it was all pretty routine more or less until the last two visits.

Given that set of facts my complaints against Dr A seemed pretty much ‘surface’ stuff (like his patronizing ways (he always called Miss Cathy ‘Mom’ which I am convinced he doesn’t do out of affection or as a pet name but because he can’t be bothered to learn what her name really is).

I didn’t campaign for his removal from the ‘team’ since it was his manners and not his medicine that were in question.

We went to see him the day after our appointment with Dr S, the ophthalmologist (and we all know how well that didn’t go) hoping he’d have an explanation for her increased confusion (at least) and maybe some insight into her loss of sight.

Upon hearing about the changes in Miss Cathy’s condition Dr A seemed to rise to the occasion and focused his exam on the new information that we were bringing him but ultimately (surprisingly…not surprisingly?) he let us down when he didn’t have much in the way of answers or an explanation as to what was happening to mom.

Miss Cathy was very concerned (understandably) about going blind and made a moving plea for his help.

Truth be told he didn’t seem ‘moved’ one way or the other.

I mean, I know he sees distraught patients everyday but his sensitivity to her rapid decline was minimal at best (holding her hand and calling her ‘mom’ was something I was already doing on my own time at home-and I don’t have a medical degree).

Besides, what we (me) wanted were solutions not sympathy.

As for diagnosing her loss of vision…he simply ‘passed’ on that one, deferring to the ophthalmologist (whom we had just seen and I made a point of reminding him of that fact) and referring us back to where we’d just come from.

In the end he did order an MRI for the next day thinking it would give him more information as to what might be happening to her brain and said that he would call that night to discuss what he concluded after reviewing the film.

So, the next day Miss Cathy took a couple of Valium (even in a partially open MRI she gets claustrophobic and panicky) and took the test.

That evening we waited for a call that never came.

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