A comic moment in clinic

Having written a fair bit about dying recently, and with another post to come on the subject, not to mention some more medical posts, I’d first like to share an amusing anecdote from life at Transplant clinic…

imageWhen attending Transplant clinic, we can request which consultant we’d like to see for any particular appointment. I’ve mentioned previously that while I admire the knowledge and expertise of Prof. Russell, I don’t find it easy to ask him questions; he’s just not that chatty. I need to also mention that there have been times when his matter-of-fact approach has been reassuring.

imageNonetheless, for most appointments I’d still rather see Dr Jenny, who is also very experienced but will spend time answering queries and explaining treatment, etc. So I usually ask to see Jenny. It’s quite simple; the nurses put a note on my file and that does the trick.

A couple of times though, Prof has taken my file, called my name and only when we’re already in his room has he noticed the note with Jenny’s name on it. His response has not always been particularly gracious, or at least that’s not how it comes across. He looks at the note and then says “oh, you don’t want to see me.”, leaving us both a bit uncomfortable and leaving me feeling like I should stay just to soothe his dented ego. I don’t stay, but I’d rather not have to go through that awkwardness.

On 23 May, I’m at clinic and Dr Jenny is away. Dr Harpreet, who was a Fellow at Nottingham, has now moved to Sheffield to take up a consultant position. This only means one thing… I’ll need to see Prof. Not my first choice when it comes to asking questions about my condition, especially atypical maladies, which is what I need to ask about that day, (more on this soon).

20131207-030240.jpgSo, I’ve had my blood taken and I’m sitting in the waiting area. Prof comes out of his consulting room again and again, plucking files out of the cabinet and calling the names of patients to see him.

All is well until I notice that some people who arrived after me are being seen while I am still waiting. I speak to a nurse, who confirms that the files are organised by appointment time. Given what I tell her though, she makes a point of pulling my file upright, so it stands vertically in the cabinet and is clearly visible… It cannot be missed.

Prof makes a few more file- and patient-seeking excursions and continues not to pick mine or call my name. I don’t know for sure but could it be that he is deliberately choosing not to see me because I usually choose not to see him… even though he knows that neither of my usual doctors is available? I am at once annoyed, flabbergasted, yet intrigued… amused and even in awe at how audacious and petty a doctor can be around something so serious. Laughable!

And yes, I do eventually get to see a consultant – the lovely Dr Chris Fox. Melissa, one of the specialist nurses smiles knowingly when I tell her what’s been happening. She says something to the effect of “Prof is a law unto himself.” She intervenes and saves the day by asking Chris to see me. There are two other doctors in clinic, but I’ve never consulted either of them. I assumed that they only deal with leukaemia or lymphoma patients. One of my leukaemia clinic buddies thinks Chris is the bees knees, so I am quite happy to be made a special case. But the incident certainly livened up my clinic visit.