I quickly realized when I contacted the referral Dr GG; the Neuro-ophthalmologist gave me for Miss Cathy that this was not going to be a quick skip down the yellow brick road to a diagnosis.
First, I would have to deal with the “Program Manager” of the Clinic before I could gain access to the much sought after Dr Turner, Director of the Georgetown University Memory Disorders Program.
The Georgetown University Memory Disorders Program is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art clinical services for individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and was conducting research aimed at improving treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease and that the Memory Disorders Program works in close collaboration with the ‘Alzheimer’s disease Cooperative Study’ to explore new clinical trials and receive updates about the current research.
I felt like Dorothy after she’d travelled so far and been through so much realizing that there was one more obstacle between her and whom she needed to see to get what she wanted when she arrived at the gates of the Emerald City.
Like L. Frank Baum’s most famous character, I had to get past the gatekeeper (or in my case, the program manager) in order to be granted and audience with the Wizard, I mean the ‘Doctor’.
Dorothy wanted to go home, I just wanted something holistic.
To my surprise and to her credit, the project manager returned my call just a few hours after I left a voicemail for Dr T (none of the ‘catch me, catch me’ games I’d played with other doctors recently).
She introduced herself and told me that she was the person who coordinated the schedule and screened potential patients for Dr T and the clinic. She then asked me to tell her about Miss Cathy.
She seemed sympathetic to my plight and listened intently as I told my tale, not saying much, occasionally interrupting me for clarification of a fact or two, which I took as a good sign that she may be interested.
After I finished she was very upfront and said that as distressing as the situation was to us, based on what I’d told her about mom’s condition, (the loss of vision and the increased confusion) Miss Cathy sounded as if she was presenting ‘typical’ symptoms consistent with her disease so she might not be a candidate for their clinic.
And even though the program manager’s assessment of our situation sounded like a rejection she didn’t say “no”, not just yet, so (in my mind) there was still a chance.
The more she talked, the more I wanted to get Miss Cathy an appointment with Dr T and into that clinic.
All I had to do was keep talking, and try to convince her to let us in.
As determined as Dorothy was to get what she wanted, I was just as determined and I knew there wouldn’t be any of those scary flying monkeys to deal with (I hoped).
So, (with one eye peeled skyward-just in case) I began my quest to get an audience with the great and powerful Doctor of Alz.