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:
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.
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.