Thursday, November 14, 2013
We talked about the pros and cons of colonoscopy. Roger liked to think deeply about his medical problems. A few days later, he underwent the procedure. The cancer was localized. We picked a surgeon that seemed to fit his personality. He scheduled a visit with me right after his consultation to talk over the options. Would it surprise to you consider that he thought of doing nothing?
Roger eventually had the surgery. His recovery was rocky. I visited him in the hospital every day. When his temperature spiked, I put him on antibiotics for pneumonia. There was a short nursing home stay. To see Roger ambling through the hallways of the extended care facility was quite a sight. A place he said he would never go, he seemed like a king sitting atop his thrown.
I discharged him home when he was strong enough to handle the apartment on his own. There was quite a bit of discussion, he actually left a little earlier than I preferred. What could I say? He made some good points.
I bumped into Roger while walking down the street the other day. He was chatting affably with an acquaintance. He greeted me with a warm handshake, and we stood silent for a moment. Then he turned to the gentleman standing quietly next to him, and apologized for not introducing us.
"I almost forgot," He paused, and smiled broadly, "this is my colleague, Dr. Grumet."
Colleague. I thought about Roger's words later that night while daydreaming in front of my computer. He was right. The word patient didn't really make sense. There was no paternalism. A light went off in my head that day, and I haven't used the term patient since.
In the job of safeguarding Roger's well being, we were partners, workmates, collaborators.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 7:28 PM