A Taste of My Own

On Wednesday we had what we anticipated might be our last cardiologist’s appointment for this trip.  All went well, for most of the appointment.  The meds are doing their thing and no additional visits were necessary.

The doctor left the exam room and his clinical nurse specialist finished up the paperwork.  Then she took us to the scheduler to schedule next year’s appointment.  And then came the curve ball.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m a smart guy.  I’m used to being the one who is sitting around waiting on people slower than me.  I’ve spent my lifetime waiting on other people; and that’s ok.

The nurse came around the corner and half hollered at us for 20 feet away, “Before you leave the doctor wants to talk with you again.” Ok… so we go back to the consult room and wait,  and wait,  and wait.  When he finally arrives he sits at the computer and pounds out an email and then turns to us, saying, he wants me to see another specialist,  the leading expert on something he noticed in my recent test and he wants to schedule another procedure.

Bottom line is that we’re here for a while longer.  How long — who knows.  How serious is the newly important condition?  Dunno right now.  But it is what it is; I only have one body and I’d best take care of it the best I can.

The reason for commenting is quite simple.  My whole life I’ve been the quick one.  I have known that being quick has resulted (too often) in my seeming to be rude and impolite.  To me — I was just skipping the overture and going straight for the meat of matters — but other people weren’t seeing that.  To them I was abrupt, or rude, or I didn’t take their opinions into consideration.  That I had considered those options/opinions already, chosen among them and was ready to proceed didn’t seem acceptable to others because they weren’t part of the conversation.  But that didn’t change the fac that I had acted upon due consideration.

The doctor that I’ve been seeing this month and a half is one of the few people in my life who behaves towards me the way I have behaved toward others.  I see and hear it in everything he does.  I won’t say it annoys me — though I know it annoys Peggy.  What it has done is give me a better insight in how I come across to other people.

If you want to be understood,
You have to make yourself understandable.

I am committed to a very simple idea:  if you want to be understood, you have to make yourself understandable.  I’ve been trying, trying, trying, my whole life.  That doesn’t mean I can’t be who I am; it means that I am aware of the hurdles I’ve put in the way of being understood and when it’s important for me to be understood it’s up to me to find a way over those hurdles.

It’s not my place to tell my doctor his bedside manor could use some improvement.  I’m the patient and I’m coming to him for his expertise.  That his expertise might come with some personal quirks goes with the territory.  Really smart people all have their quirks.

But what I can do is take a lesson from life and redouble my efforts to make my own communication clear and concise.  Perhaps sometimes not quite SO precise.  One of my bosses — 30 years ago — taught me the three rules he lived by.  He was a Lt. Col. in the military and I’ve never been sure whether they were rules he learned in the Army but they are very simple:

Be Specific,
Plan Ahead,
Don’t Assume

You know — people don’t always like it when you’re specific, and plan ahead, and don’t assume!  While we were at the doctors’ office the nurse was processing the renewal prescription for my new meds.  The new scrip involves taking 1 1/2 pills at a time, instead of 2, and the length of time we were writing the scrips for was only 60 days instead of my normal 90 day refill cycle.  It’s amazing how a little bit of math can throw you when you are accustomed to doing things by habit.  It took three tries to get the scrip right.  The first one was wrong because of the 1 pill or 1 1/2 pill thing.  The second was wrong because of the quantity:  60 times 3 pills per day is 180 pills, not 120 pills.  I think nothing of correcting a professional when I know they have not got the thing right.  But it’s a reminder that following simple rules is really important:  in this case, not assuming that the prescription was written correctly just because the pharmacist handed me a bottle.SLOW

So, I’m going forward trying to be a little less rude, and a little less brisk.  I know I’ll never stop being who I am, but I can try to be less irritating to others.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow we’ll have yet another wrinkle in our departure plans, or some other doctor to go visit. 🙂 🙂

P.S.:  Just in case anyone thinks this doctor doesn’t deserve my trust.  The nurse called at the end of business to apologize for the mixup with the scrip, to let me know about their follow-up on two matters related to my visit and to clarify questions I had.  They are a bit unorthodox in their way but they are efficient in the life and death things that matter.    


18 thoughts on “A Taste of My Own

    1. Jim — that is the very reason we are going to change our Medicare supplemental — right now we have an HMO version and we’re going to go to the PPO version. Make it easier (though initially more expensive) to see any dr. any where.
      Besides, the cardiac care here is top notch.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would be ‘easier’ if we had any idea why we were seeing this second specialist at this time. The Cardiologist doesn’t want to see me till next year and gave no indication that any other treatment was necessary than lowering my pulse and BP even further.

        Then again, my experience of doctors is that they sometimes do tests because they can, not because the patient ‘needs’ the test — I know that was my FIL’s situation even after he was coded no-resuscitate and palliative treatment only. They were still wanting to do tests because “It would tell them more.”

        Even a guy like me who is proactive about healthcare, and who asks a lot of questions, can be confused about WHY we are doing things.

        Oh well, we did get our appointment for the second specialist today — I had my CTA scan and on the way out the building I stopped at the other doctor’s office and forced the appointment issue. We have a schedule for 11/3 — an MRI at 9 and another echo cardiogram done by the specialist himself at 12:30 — so we’ll be there for a good 5 hours. If there’s no impending treatment we know nothing about we can leave here thereafter — so might stay here till that Thursday and head South to see Peg’s friend in Illinois (Springfield) on Friday & Saturday.

        So, back on the waiting wagon…. 🙂 > >

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Take care, I know you will even though you were almost ready to leave . Better safe than sorry . I was all set to email you two last night and the silly computer froze up on me, plus I still don’t have it in my head which email address to use for you’all. So happy thoughts and quick results !


  2. Hate those bad habits. I am working on not finishing other people’s thoughts for them…I try but the words just jump out of my mouth. Oh why can’t I just keep my mouth shut? The only place I don’t do it is when I’m writing. Maybe I should write instead of speak? Too impractical.

    Sending good thoughts with the doctor trips and diagnosis.


    1. Boy — you DO know me! Same-oh, same-oh.

      Jumping words are the pits. Why can’t they just lay there and be patient? 🙂

      After the nurse called on Thursday evening I felt a lot more positive about where we’re going medically, and physically. Unless something unexpected turns up on Tuesday we’re really just looking to document current condition and use that to evaluate deterioration, so I’m hopeful. A dilated aorta is serious but at this point it’s not life threatening. So, go on living. And enjoy. And maybe try to be patient with other people. Maybe. At least occasionally. 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad to hear there was some positive in the medical report.

        It looks like Rick is going to need a knee replacement before we finish our house project. It will be about a 4 – 6 month recovery period. The plan is to button up the house so no critters get inside over the winter; get soffits done and all mason/block work done. This includes windows and doors which I like because it will make the place look tons better. 😀
        We’ll tackle the electric and plumbing when he is done and healed…it is what it is.


      2. Yup — it is what it is. And we only get one body… best to take care of it.

        Fortunately, Knee Replacement has come a long way in the last 20 years. I remember sitting with friends in England who had knee replacement surgery there and it was a sad, sad, situation. But so little was known when they first started doing them. My grand mother had a hip replaced in her 90’s and lived to be productive until 102 — well, so much as any 100 year old can be — but strong and healthy.

        The trick is the recovery. Of course the rehab is important but understanding that some parts of that recovery take longer than obvious and being willing to do your rehab but not to push the aspects that are still knitting together too hard until the recovery is complete…. that’s not so easy. Specially for gung-ho guys.

        But — you surely have a plan that sounds good so go for it. Even if you had to sell that property today I’m sure you’d get more for it than you paid! Not that that’s the plan but you guys have put a lot of value into it already. Good on you!

        > >

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you for all the kind words.

        I know the horrors of early knee surgery, my aunt had it on both knees, twice. 😦

        As far as the house goes, we planned for the long haul and gave ourselves a two year target for completion, knowing that there may be complexities. The only thing that would prevent it from being completed would be if something happened to Rick that made it physically impossible to do it. And we are not entertaining any scenario like that because Rick needs to be working on “something” or else he’d go batty. 😉


      4. 🙂

        I wish our SIL could learn to slow down a little — sometimes our best plans go awry when we don’t give healing a chance — I think my comment had more to do with an undercurrent of concern for him than for Rick — sometimes that happens to me… mixing contexts.

        > >


  3. You reminded me of a t-shirt I saw the other day that said, “I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you.” Sometimes, whenI have trouble understanding Dave it’s because he can’t explain well–he assumes too much. I often have to say, “Start with step one, please, not step three.” I’m smart but I cannot read his mind. Maybe you need to be specific about what you’ve already ruled out. 🙂


  4. Back when I was doing Home Health, I had a woman who was mentally challenged and her verbal skills were limited. Her doctor had ordered her a stomach medication after cardiac tests were normal. I asked if the medication was helping and she shook her head no. I double-checked that she was taking it right. I asked where the pain was; she pointed to her chest. Being the wound nurse and knowing that it could be a skin problem, I asked her if I could check. She nodded and opened her blouse. Sure enough, she had a skin fold between her breasts with a raw ulcerated area under the tiny flap. I let her doctor know. Now, each of them was specific, but she gave the wrong message and he understood wrong.


    1. What a wonderful story! And how apt.

      As I said at the end of the blog, I’m happy with the guy I have. We communicate differently, but the job gets done. But it’s a good reminder for me.

      > > > > >


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