It’s nice to be important

Yes, I’m still celebrating my birthday. When I showed up for my scar-tissue-management appointment to see Tammy, my favorite lymphedema specialist, she and Janice had decorated the office for me! I saw the Happy Birthday banner on the front door and wondered if my timing  was out of whack, because Janice had her birthday in February and Tammy’s is at the end of the summer. Imagine my surprise when the decorations were for me!

Confetti on the massage bed! Balloons and streamers! Even some strategically-placed decorations on the shelf above the bed, so that as I’m lying down for treatment, I see festiveness. 

Tammy insisted she get a picture of me lying on the confetti. I love that you can see her, in her white top, in the mirror behind me. She’s something else.

Tammy, me, Janice

One of the pleasant things to come from this “cancer journey” is the relationships formed with health-care providers. Tammy & Janice fall into the category. Hell, they define this category. When I first met them post-mastectomy, minus some lymph nodes and worried about how their absence would affect my tennis game, these two ladies took me under their wing and provided the balm to my battered soul that comes from pure human kindness. We’ve gotten to know each other very well over the last year, and they’ve become not only providers but also friends. So yes, the birthday celebration continues, and I will continue to ride the b-day train as long as humanly possible. Once my liver says “uncle,” I’m out. But until then, rock on.

Even with all the birthday revelry, I didn’t want to get too far away from my latest visit to Dr S. I’ve been so busy celebrating my birthday that I almost forgot to report on my visit to my all-time favorite surgeon in the Entire World. I saw him the day before the celebrating began, so I’d better tell ya about it now before the details become entirely too fuzzy to relate.

Well, the details of the visit aren’t as important as the fact that he and I have made some major, major break-through progress. As you loyal readers know, Dr S & I have gone round & round on a few things in the past, and we’ve had some pretty good arguments. The Turf Wars continue to amuse me.  But at the end of the appointment, with the exception of one hellacious visit last summer involving Sucky during which he almost saw me cry, we part on friendly terms and hold a lot of fondness for each other in our hearts.

So what was the progress, you may ask? When he told me to pull my pants down, so he could look at my belly scar, he said please.

Yes, you read that right:  he said please. All of his own volition. Without being prompted. Without the Mexican stand-off that usually occurs when he wants me to comply but I refuse until he shows me some manners. A little wining & dining before we get down to it, if you will.

That is some major progress. You may remember the time in which I asked him to say please and he replied that he doesn’t have to say please because he is the doctor (cue the fanfare music here). I pretty much laughed in his face and said he may be the doctor, but I am the patient (cue the even louder fanfare music here) and I will not do what he’s asked until he asks nicely.

I reminded him of one of the tenets of my growing-up years: It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice. 

I’m pretty sure he really liked that one, a lot.

Next stop for the birthday train: happy hour — my favorite time of day.

cheers!

A gathering of dear friends, some yummy food, and a well-stocked ice bucket makes for one happy birthday girl. Thad & Yvonne always throw a great party, and last night was no exception. We toasted with a Mumm rose, and broke out the beautiful orange box so the Widow could join the party. She’s always the star of the show.

Luckily, she plays well with others, and it’s not a one-woman show. There’s the Mumm and the ubiquitous Piper, along with the Prisoner. 

Quite a nice grouping for the birthday happy hour. The food was delish, as it always is at Chez McLemore. Yvonne’s tableside guacamole would be at home at any of the finer Mexican restaurants in our neck of the woods. Keith & Jill’s deconstructed Greek salad crostini made my heart happy and made my tummy say “thank you!” The hand-made tortillas and grilled shrimp added the last dash of supreme bliss that enveloped our patio happy hour. The fruit crostada was bursting with blueberries and anchored with peaches, all the while surrounded by a buttery, flakey, turbinado-sugared crust. 

But the very best part of an overall-exceptional evening was this: being surrounded by friends who make every meal a feast.


3 Comments on “It’s nice to be important”

  1. Jan Hasak says:

    Nancy, I love this post! The pictures tell the whole story. Like you, I have a relationship with some of my medical providers that goes way beyond provider-patient. My lymphedema therapist became my regular therapist: I could tell her anything while she massaged me and she listened without judgment. And the oncology nurse? What a gem! I’ve become good friends with both and have collaborated on a few advocacy projects with them.

    I love the way your doctor said, “please.” Now that is real progress!

    XOXOXO,
    Jan

  2. Like you and Jan, I had/have an amazing medical support team. How do they do this day in and day out? Where do they find the compassion and strength when things don’t always go as we’d all hoped?

    You clearly know your way around the best champagne. I love you already:)

    XOXOXO,
    Brenda

  3. ‘the time in which I asked him to say please and he replied that he doesn’t have to say please because he is the doctor’
    Oh my god! OMG He said that he really said that?? Glad to see HE is responding to patient interventions!!!
    Belated birthday greetings, what wonderful support you’ve got around you. Magical.


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