Friday, February 25, 2011

An Apology from Dr. #*@

Hmmm. Dr. #*@% sent me a letter of apology. It arrived sometime in the last week, maybe while we were in Portland, but I just opened it today. Things have just been too busy - I thought it might be a survey or just info about OHSU, so I didn't open it. I must admit to being surprised at getting the letter, but I'm glad that he wrote it.

In the end, there was some kind of miscommunication between him and me. I don't think I framed my questions in such a way that I could get the information I wanted from him and for his part, he didn't take the time to really listen to what it was I was asking. I also still think that he implied that I should give up on the idea of a new implant or getting rid of the "dog ears" because I had bigger things to worry about.

He did say, and rightly so, that he would fix the dog ears if I ever wanted to come in and schedule the procedure. I just haven't scheduled it because I was waiting for a time when I reached stable disease again. I didn't think I should go through such a procedure while on chemo, for example. It was two months after reconstruction when I found out that the cancer had metastasized to my lungs. While the lung tumors seem to be resolving, the one under my armpit hasn't, so the time for such a procedure has never presented itself.

He also said that he couldn't have prepared me for the removal of the implant. It wasn't so much preparation I needed so much as a simple, "I'm going to take out the implant right now" would've sufficed. When I showed up that morning with the implant showing through the wound, he said, "it has to come out" and I said, "Yes, I understand. But when will you do it?" and he never answered. He just proceeded to take it out.

I accept his apology because he seemed sincere and ended with this statement, "I went into our last meeting as a surgeon feeling inadequate that I had nothing to offer you. You remind me that as a person I could have done much better." I doubt, though, that I will go to him again. After seeing the surgeon and plastic surgeon in Portland, there was such a difference in empathy and spirit. I felt no arrogance or dismissiveness from either of them.

I really like the surgeon here in town - in fact, I saw him this evening when we went up to see my dad and he joked about whether or not I sent out any letters. I told him that I asked my dad's surgeon to not bark orders at my dad and to request things in a gentler bedside manner. He just chuckled and said something about how there were maybe 8 other surgeons like my dad's in town.

I think I need to process this a little bit more . . . but it was an interesting find this evening!

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