Patient Care, Perspectives

Inconvenience


Last night it seems one of the pipes connecting our water heater froze in our home. What an inconvenience! Stranded I was unable to go to work this morning. Commitments needed to be canceled, meetings moved and rescheduled, I disappointed many but this is important, we have no water in the house and I needed to stay home and wait for someone who understands pipes to come and tell me what is going on. I needed a specialist who could help me evaluate and manage my problem. But I had to change my plans and my day is not going as I had wanted it to.

When my patients are on chemotherapy (chemo), they are at the mercy of the cancer, the side-effects, their blood counts and the specialist. What I am feeling now is an understatement to how it must feel for them to be stranded with a situation that they have no control over. My patients make plans and have lives outside of their cancer that they really do not want to interrupt to be hospitalized and receive chemo. When they come all prepared to be admitted for their chemo, sometimes they do not get what they want. I have many a times delayed a chemo regimen and offset plans that they had. I see how frustrated they become and hear them say “but this means I am going to miss the wedding now”.  This is an aspect of my job I do not enjoy. Most patients receiving chemo are healthy and live active lives in between cycles, and I have stressed that they don’t let the cancer rule their lives, and that they should plan and we will work around their plans. That is easier said than done. Cancer interferes, ruining moments and events and it does not have a schedule.

In delivering chemotherapy to a patient an oncologist will try to stay on track but what patients don’t know is we sometimes have “wiggle room” as I like to call it. We can add a day or subtract a day to get things to accommodate some plans that my patients have. So when they come back for an unanticipated admission or are delayed for things beyond their control I do enjoy giving back “wiggling” their plans back into their lives. The plumber said he would be here at 9am but showed up at 10:30am. The weather is bad today, the roads slick, and cars in ditches, but he came through. He has taken up half my day, but he came, and now the hot water is back. I do strive to ensure that all my patients driving through their bad storms get to where they need to in the end. While the outcome can be as bright as simply fixing a problem to help a patient reach a goal that they wanted – it does make for a better day.

Mo

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3 thoughts on “Inconvenience

  1. marcia says:

    Dr. Mo is an amazing person and compassionate provider–thank goodness he is as tenacious in treating cancer as he is in his willingness to live in the midst of “the polar vortex”. Frozen pipes, what a bummer and what a great attitude in dealing with a huge inconvenience; and then blogging about it. Gotta a love a doctor who is smart, compassionate, and able to convey that through his writings. I greatly enjoy your blogs, it makes me, as a family member, feel connected..no wander my sister thinks you are her beacon in the night..”Dr Mo will help me, he says do not give up, he will tell me when to change courses.” Such a comfort to have someone like Mo in this battle with us.
    Marcia

  2. Claire Barnhouse says:

    Mo,
    I wasn’t surprised to read what your saying here.. You always have the patients concerns and best interest at heart… Even you have bad days Mo and sometimes they cannot be helped.. Being a patient you block everything else out of your mind when your going through therapy.. You really stay focused to get it done. Hopefully no bumps in the road… I hope you don’t beat yourself up about disappointing us.. We should all understand that you have a life and things need to be done at times.. You are trying to do the best you can, that is all anybody can expect of you..I admire you Dr. Mo.. my amazing doctor of science…
    Claire

  3. Loni Duncan says:

    Mo- You came on service while my mom was in the hospital for the first and last time she’d be in for chemo side effects. She ended up going home with hospice but I appreciated how you listened to her and consulted with Thor (her regular Dr). I think the treatment team was wonderful and although pancreatic cancer is a bad one to have, she had an easier time with it than most. Thankfully there are many good Dr’s who remember a person’s humanity and more than a disease. God bless you all.

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