Author: Aideé Granados
Living in the United States, I discovered something about nurses that I had never seen in Mexico: they have a GREAT influence within a medical office.
Nurses, almost always, are the necessary filter before speaking with the doctor who treats you. Generally, they are the ones that resolve post-consultation or post-treatment doubts, give indications, adjust doses, and even change medicines.
I learned that it was better to have them on my side since I am usually a high maintenance patient: I like to consult and question frequently. For this reason, I have proposed to know them and that they know me; That they know who I am, what my medical history has been, that they find me with a first and last name, and not just as another number in their files.
I had done very well until I ran into Nurse Mary.
One fine day, Mary came into the office where I was. I had waited for more than an hour for the consultation with my oncologist. Mary did not greet me. He didn't turn to meet my eyes. He went straight to the computer and, turning his back on me, began to ask me routine questions:
“Do you repeat your name? Date of birth? Are you still taking "x" and "y" pills? Did they give you the injection? "
And Mary, she didn't turn to see me!
She had come prepared for the consultation with a somewhat detailed list of ailments she was feeling. I wanted to ask for help and direction. And above all, I wanted them to tell me whether or not those ailments were related to cancer I had had.
"Your blood tests came out fine." I was finally seeing myself! I quickly explained my health concerns, and he told me that everything was considered normal. Just like that.
I don't know how, but suddenly, I started crying. Now it gives me a little laugh. But at that moment, I had the courage and I felt terrible: I had been waiting for a consultation for a long time, alone, sitting in a cold room, wearing a not pretty gown that reminds you that you are in a hospital and that you were (or are sick. Then it turns out that whoever I thought could help me with patience and tact, seemed to care nothing more than asking the “generals”, filling out a database on the computer and saying: Next, please! Or as in Mexico they say: “Pásele, Pásele, Güerita! The one that follows ”.
I was furious, and the tears of feeling came out. However, my position was that of the patient. And hers, the nurse in charge. “Today you will not see your oncologist, you will only go through a review with me. If you think you need an anti-depressant, we can prescribe it. "
I got more furious.
I immediately thought of complaining. In writing a long letter to my oncologist and the hospital. I wondered how he could have a person, with such little tact, on his team. These nurses cared for cancer patients and Survivors!
I didn't do any of this. I thought it best to let some time pass. Anyway, and that day, it had been a bad day for Mary. It was likely that it was. I made it a point to be empathetic.
Months passed and Christmas was approaching. I decided to send Mary a gift, with a "love note." It was something super simple: a congratulation, a homemade gift from my husband, my daughter, and me, a note wishing him the best for the holidays. Signed by the family.
I got no response from him. Honestly, I was not expecting it. However, last week I had a follow-up appointment at the hospital, and although I had asked for my oncologist to treat me exclusively, I find myself surprised that it is Mary who comes into the office to check me up.
He greeted me with a handshake. He looked me in the eye. She spoke to me in a completely different tone than the last time I saw her. Yes, he asked me everything I needed for the database; however, he took the time to explain some graphs of my fresh studies to me. He checked me out carefully. I hear myself. He helped me make an appointment for an X-ray.
I asked him about how he was doing and how he was doing. "Well, more or less," was his reply. It hurt to be tough last time with her. I think Mary sometimes doesn't have such good days. Or maybe, the love letter and the little gift genuinely touched him. Good thing I didn't complain. How good that I waited for a better moment to understand her and make her understand me too.
To say goodbye, with another handshake, he says: “I love your blouse; May I ask where you bought it? " -Hahahahaha- I couldn't believe it. I would have laughed out loud (with joy). I preferred not to do it so that tears would not come from laughing and I would like to prescribe anti-depressants again!
I left happy, thinking of Mary and her days seeing so many patients, so many other survival stories, and many others of great sorrow. Good thing I waited.