Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Care-giver actually feels supported by portion of Duke medical community

This is whack post that I would never expect to write. But when a job is well done . . . it is well done.

My dad had an appointment today with "pre-op" for his June 1, 2009, foot surgery. usually the pre-op in Clinic 2D at Duke South Clinic is fraught with frustration. For the last seven (7) years, the appointment has literally meant that at minimum of 3 different para-professionals would tell you the exact same information about "no food after midnight" blaa blaa blaa.

The appointments would last 2-3 hours. And you would walk away needed an adult beverage.

Today's appointment started bad. I have no glasses (they are broken and I apparently purchased a defective VSP eye insurance). I fell several times in the last few days because my left leg gives out. Went to the doctor last Friday to confirm a concussion. Apparently concussions are tough to heal if you keep falling.

Anyway, I managed to get my dad 40 minutes away to Duke. And I was pleasantly surprised at the professionalism and logic with which the appointment was organized. Typically my dad is treated like a demented tree limb because he gets nervous. (Dad is neither demented nor a tree limb).

The staff (especially an awesome NP Ms. Copeland) was amazing. She actually had dad feeling safe and comfortable. Then a guy named Peter took dad's blood. and made dad feel like a human. (Trust me, this is unusual at Duke). Again, dad felt safe.

And Peter actually went out of his way to come out to the hallway as dad was leaving to shake dad's hand, tell him how strong he was and wish dad luck for the surgery. It may sound simple -- but that small gesture made dad feel like a man ---not a patient.

Now dad is feeling like the surgery is on track with Mark Easley, M.D. (have I mentioned that he is the best orthopedic surgeon in the country and promised my mom that he is unrelated to the former Governor Mike Easley).

I am scared to sleep right now. The concussion has me very nauseous. It is fine to be awake. I love being awake when dad is resting nicely.

I don't get much emotional support as a caregiver - brother is indifferent, maternal aunt and uncle are indifferent. They have no clue what I have been through with my own cancer and now dad. (Get this - my maternal side cousin sent wedding invites to my mom and dad but not me!! That's okay. I don't think she ever sent a "get well" card to dad. Getting used to it).

So it means a lot when I get validation and emotional support from medical staff. They say/confirm that I am making a positive difference in dad's life.

Stay healthy and strong Dr. Mark Easley.

June 1, 2009 is so close I can taste it!

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