It’s been too long since I’ve posted a good story about Dr S, my most-favorite and much-abused plastic surgeon who saw me through the worst of the infection(s) this past summer and with whom I have an ongoing love-hate relationship. I love to needle him, and he hates to see my name on his clinic schedule!
I saw him Friday for a check-up (I love the way “check-up” sounds so simple & innocent, and misleadingly free of scary stuff like tumors and fat necrosis and scar tissue and reconstruction). He’s usually pretty prompt, and out of the many, many office visits I’ve had with him, I really haven’t had to wait too long for him. The few times it has happened, though, it has made me mad and I let him know it. I understand that delays happen, and the doctor isn’t always in control of the schedule, but I’m just an impatient person and it annoys me. My bad.
Friday was no exception. After waiting nearly an hour in the waiting area (so aptly named, that place), I waited some more in the exam room. I’ve explained before that although I am “just” an at-home mom, my time is still valuable, and I prefer him to keep some other patient waiting and get to me first. Not that I want some other patient to have to wait longer than me, but really once you’ve been diagnosed and gone through a nasty surgery and then the whole infection scene and multiple hospitalizations, well, ok maybe I do want someone else to have to wait longer. Surely all of that mess garners some sort of street cred or extra credit or something that allows me to go to the front of the line. But no. Like so many things related to cancer and subsequent recovery, there’s no easy way, no priority boarding, no free ride.
So after an hour of waiting on Friday, Amy and I were joking, as we’ve done before, about the many ways we could get his attention. We can usually hear his voice through the exam room walls and can gauge if he’s wrapping things up with the previous patient (although sadly, we can’t make out all the words and so can’t really get a sense of what they’re discussing, and y’all know how nosey I am; being able to properly eavesdrop would pass the time quite nicely). We’ve considered texting him from the waiting area and the exam room (yes, I do have his cell number), or knocking on the walls and hollering, Hurry it up in there, we’ve got to get back to Sugar Land for carpool!
Well on Friday we hatched a new plan and decided to write him a note and slip it under the door. We ripped the paper covering from the exam table and scribbled, You’ve got 5 minutes. Then we stuck it under the door.
Ballsy? Perhaps. Rude? A little. Effective? Most definitely. He burst through the exam room door post haste, note in hand and grinning wildly. He needed a little shake-up to his day. He muttered something about how he’s never in all his years had a patient give him so much grief. I replied that I’ve never in all my years liked waiting, something I’ve been imminently clear about from day one with him. Y’all may recall from my previous blog on Caring Bridge that I told Dr S at our first consultation, shortly after my diagnosis, that I know full well and good that he has other patients; I’m not his only patient, but I expect to be his number-one priority. I was kidding then, but oh how eerily prescient that little wisecrack turned out to be. Six months later–and today is exactly six months since my mastectomy–that man is still not rid of me.
Here’s the really funny part, though — he actually tried to blame his lack of punctuality on Daylight Savings. He said his schedule has been messed up since the time change, and I guess what we’re supposed to infer from that is that it’s not his fault. Time change, huh? It must have been pretty clear by the look on my face that I wasn’t buying that, because he asked me why I was looking at him as if he were FOC. I wasn’t familiar with that acronym so he said what about FOS? That one I know, and told him that I did indeed think he was FOS. Totally FOS. Since we “fall back” with the time change, he should have been an hour early!