Thursday, November 29, 2012


November 29, 2012

Yesterday I took my sister to the Yale Stroke Center to see the doctor who became like family to me last year. I won't name him to protect his privacy but at a time when I was literally on the edge, hanging on by my fingertips, he provided a calm and compassionate outlook. I asked for him everyday and came to rely on his advice.

You may remember that a week after Dave left to live with his lesbian lover, my sister had a stroke. I was literally inconsolable. But I knew I had to take care of her because she had always taken care of me when I was young. I talked myself into getting up and going to the Yale Neuro ICU every day for 6 weeks. I carried a legal pad and wrote down everything that was said to me. Every diagnosis, the name of everyone who entered the room, her vital signs and sometimes, what she ate. I knew I was risking staff alienation (no medical person likes to see someone taking notes on everything that is being done) but I had to have a record because I was so disconnected I couldn't remember anything. I wanted to explain my situation but it wasn't about me so I kept quiet. I knew sometimes I looked like a lunatic but I didn't care.

I was sure my sister would never leave Yale. But she eventually went to an ECF and worked hard at physical, occupational and speech therapy. She is home now with lots of help and her doctor today was very pleased with her progress. And he was the same calm and rational presence that I remembered from a year ago.

So I have to thank all the nurses and residents who graciously endured my crazy behavior. Who took all my phone calls no matter what time. The staff who explained to me over and over what was happening and what was being done. I am proud to be a member of the same profession. It is always harder on the other side of the bed. But they made it much easier for me. I will be eternally grateful.

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