Friday, January 2, 2009

Dear doctor

Dear kind-faced doctor with the spiky hair,
I hope I didn't offend you with my questions this morning; I'm not a pushy person, really, and I hope I didn't come off as disrespectful or ignorant. Just that I've been in this situation before -- I've watched my husband go through this pain, and I know which medicine eased it. There was a team of specialists on the case last time, so it seems unusual to have just a small group of family docs working with us now. I did a lot of research last time, so I know all the complications and risks he's facing -- please don't try to candy-coat it. I'm tired of repeating the same damn story to a different doctor every two hours -- can't you just look up his records?

I'm sorry I told you I'm pissed. That was inappropriate. But I am pissed. I'm pissed that you told us his genetics are crap and this is beyond his control. I know you were trying to ease his mind, make him think that this wasn't his fault, which we all know it's not. But now you've basically told him that no matter what he does, there will always be the possibility of repeating this nightmare, any time, without warning because it's in his crappy genes. Then you told him he has inherited the disease that eventually killed his father, at age 62, for God's sake. Do you have any idea what you just did, you sonofabitch?

Diabetes, you said. You're a walking heart attack, you said. Your triglycerides as so high, you said, that you should have died before you even got to the ER. But it's beyond your control, you said, because it's in your genes. And you may have passed these horrible genes on to your son, you said, so take him to the pediatrician and have a nice day.

Do you realize that you walked in here just now with your new diagnosis and your "I'm gonna give it to you straight" attitude and you've flipped our world inside out? In five minutes, you changed everything about our lives. You just kicked my husband in the knee, then slapped me in the face.

Maybe I'm projecting a little here. I'm probably not really mad at you. My rational self knows you're just doing your job. But I'm mad at this whole deal. I'm mad that I never thought to interview my husband about his genetic make-up before I fell in love with him. I'm mad at my husband for eating too many Big Macs, and I'm mad at myself for not being more vigilant and outspoken when I knew he was putting on weight. I'm even mad at my dead father-in-law for his crappy genes and even crappier treatment of his family!

I'm mad, dear doctor, so you'd better be done with your bad news.

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