Friday, March 1, 2013

"The Break Up" ?

Did you hear the one about the woman LIVING and WORKING with METS?

This Woman walks into her cardiologist's office...and they "break-up" with her? 

So...this Woman wanted to see the cardiologist, but he was otherwise occupied. So Woman's appointment is punted to the cardiologist's #1 PA.

Because Woman had a particularly rough weekend, health-wise, an EKG is done with a tech before said #1 PA comes in.

PA walks in, sad and compassionate look on her face.

Prior, Woman had removed herself from the exam table and is sitting, like a real "equal" person, on one of the room's chairs.

PA sits herself, with her sad and compassionate look, on the step-up to the exam table.

"Hi...I'm Brenda PA".

Hi, Brenda PA. I am Woman.

"What brings you in today?

Um, scheduled follow up; bad weekend; hoping that the EKG proves husband wrong - that I did not experience a heart attack.

"Yes, I know. Are you still not willing to pursue a treatment protocol of chemo?"

That has been declined, several times; and off-the-table, since September, 2011. Moot topic. Did I have a heart attack?

"Do you have children? How many? What are their ages?"

Yes, three. Did I have a heart attack?

How are they handling your disease? Are they in counseling?"

Living their lives. No, why? Did I have a heart attack?

"Do you have a DNR or DNI prepared?"

Yes, DNR. Don't know what a DNI is. Did I have a heart attack?

"Good. Good. No, you didn't not have a heart attack. I have reviewed and discussed your situation, including what you experienced on Saturday, with Dr. Cardio. He wanted me to talk with you about the "H-word".

The "H-word"?

"He thinks that this should be discussed."

Excuse me, what is the "H-word"?

"It is really a good idea."

E-x-c-u-s-e ... me, WHAT is the "H-word?"


W-T-H - ????? WHY ????

"The pericarditis is just going to worsen because of your advanced cancer".

Yes, and so....................

"Well, we have to face the fact that your prognosis is not good, not good at all".

Oh, something to do with having metastatic cancer?

"(Small laugh)...pericarditis with advanced cancer...well, the prognosis is not good, the symptoms are going to get worse. We think that a referral to hospice would be smart."


By this time I have my little friends sitting on opposing shoulders. My little "angel" and my not-so-little "devil".  "Devil" is urging me to rip Brenda-PA a new one. "Angel" is cautioning me to just smile & nod and see where Brenda-PA is going to end up with this dialogue. "After all, this could be really good fodder for bitching blogging!" Ah, yes. You are right, "angel"...who's the devil now?
I  am not feeling so smart. I don't have time for hospice. It won't fit in my schedule.

"What do you mean? What are you doing?" (You mean, besides LIVING?)

Everything that I have been doing for the last 18 years.

How are you still working?

How could I not be?

"Really? Wow! How are you able to continue? (Because the alternative is...?) You are so calm. Are you afraid of dying ... Are you ready to die?" (Oh my!)

Brenda-PA, I am not afraid of dying. It is an unavoidable consequence of living. But no, I am not ready to die. I am not planning to do so anytime soon. So, I think I will take a pass on "ready-ing" myself to at the moment, at least this week.

"(Another small laugh) Are you so calm because you are in the 'acceptance' phase?" (Obviously not, as I am NOT READY to engage hospice services this week, or next, or the ones thereafter!)

I don't think so. I am just  too busy...LIVING.

"May I give you the hospice information? They are a wonderful entity. They are not all about grim-reaper stuff (did she just say that?). If I did not work with Dr. Cardio, I would work with them in a heartbeat (oh Brenda-PA is puny). I will give you the card of the intake director and make the referral."

. . .

. . . Brenda-PA plucks herself off her lower perch and leaves the exam room to retrieve the information. She re-enters exam room and meaningfully squeezes Woman's arm while she hands over the card and information sheet. Brenda-PA walks Woman to the front desk and hands the charting information to the clerk. Clerk looks at the paper and looks at Woman and Brenda-PA and asks: "Are we scheduling a follow up visit?"

. . . Brenda-PA, not missing a beat says (with the sad and compassionate look plastered to her punim) "Oh no, there will be no need."  .... Badadum!

I walk out the door wondering, and wonder still, did that REALLY just happen? WHAT just happened? Did my cardiologist just "break-up" with me? Was Brenda-PA a REAL person? I have had heart-wrenching (pun intended) relationship break-ups that made more sense. Talk about turning the classic break-up scenario on its head!
This time it was definitely "more about me" than it was about "them"! And where this relationship was going...well, let's just say I was not thrilled with the punch line!

Post Script:  In less than 5 minutes after posting the above, the hospice intake social worker called me on my personal cell phone. I repeat, with more vehemence...W-T-H???? "I would like to schedule a time for one of our hospice nurses to come out and do an intake. Would you like to set that up?"  No, I would not, but thank you very much! ~~Click~~


  1. Hi TC,
    You can always count on me to read your blog and comment:-) I love your attitude. You're my inspiration. Just keep on going on. I'm sending a lot of good wishes and hugs. Do something 'nice' for yourself every single day (that was my mother's advice to me!...It was also good advice, I have found). Dee

    1. Hi Dee! So good to hear from you. Your comments always put a smile on my punim. I am still in total bewilderment about my Brenda-PA interaction. Obviously not speechless. I followed your mom's advice and went to the theater tonight and saw something really high-brow..."Spanks...the Parody" I think I've have found something far more entertaining than Brenda-PA.


  2. TC, I'm just catching up on my blog reading. That PA's behavior is so over-the-top I am rendered utterly speechless. That PA needs a punch in the punim! (Sorry. I know violence is not the answer. But Geez Louise!!)

    {{{hugs}}} to the moon and back.

    1. Renn, so good to hear from you! I keep I the only one having these types of encounters with med-pros? Is it isolated to the culture of the medical community in Arizona? be it really just me?

      {{hugs}} right back at ya!