Anatomy of a Doctor’s Appointment


We drive separately since Dave has to go to work afterwards.  (why is it always so hard to find parking in this garage?)  He heads to the lab for blood work, and I make myself comfortable in the waiting room.  (hmm…Life With Cancer pamphlet….could be interesting.  FINAL CHECK LIST.  eessh.  i definitely don’t need to read that.)  Dave gets called back – weight check, blood pressure check (that was quick. did she really take it?), pulse, temperature, standard list of questions about appetite and symptoms.  (click, click, click on the computer.  she isn’t even looking at us.  has to get through her checklist of things to do.  SO routine for her.)  We wait.  I remind myself to breathe while at the same time ignoring subtle stress-induced digs from Dave.

Dr. S comes in.  He is a whirlwind of energy.  He is noticeably surprised to see me and comments that I usually am “only here for the big appointments”.  (so want to defend myself.  dave doesn’t want me to come to all of his appointments.  i have to work.  do other spouses come to every appointment?  am i not keeping up?  do you know how supportive i am?!)  Dr. S tells Dave that his blood work looks good.  His numbers are good.  CEA is 3.4.  Dr. S pokes and prods a bit and asks about side effects.  Dave tells him his concerns about “chemo brain”.  That he is getting increasingly forgetful and aggressive.  Conversation moves on to discussion about what we are going to do after the 12th cycle of this chemo.  After some questioning, Dr. S tells us Dave can choose to take a break altogether (alarm bells.  this is a terrible idea.)  or he can do a lesser chemo but we will talk about it after the next scan.  Dave reminds Dr. S that he is going to be out of the office after the next scan.  Chit chat about where he is going to be.  I ask a few questions about going off the trial if Dave takes a break.  Dr. S mentions that we don’t have to decide today.  I ask about taking a break from chemo, and Dr. S says that obviously we know Dave’s tumor is aggressive but that it is up to him if he feels he needs the mental and physical break.  (no, no, no, no, no.  easy for me to say.)  Then it is handshakes all around, a few jokes about the kids, and we are out the door.  As I am driving to meet some friends for lunch, I wonder what we really learned today.