I’ve posted on my previous blog site about my family physician and how I came out to him. I have reposted it in the “Other Stuff” section as: Archives: What my Doctor said . . .
I’ve seen Dr B for over 10 years now. Until now.
Yesterday, I decided it’s time once again for my semi-decade, over 50, “annual” physical exam so I called his office whereupon the nice receptionist informed me that he is no longer seeing patients. He is only working emergency at the hospital now.
She further announced: “We have a letter at the reception that explains it all”. A lot of good that does me, sitting in my office 25 miles away.
She continues: “Dr P is still here and I can give you an appointment with him. Or you can wait until the replacement doctor arrives”
Me: “When is he coming?
Receptionist: “SHE is coming in October”
Me: “OK, I’ll take Dr P.”
I’m actually in shock. I knew Dr B was around my age, perhaps a year or two older, and I knew he’d eventually retire and he has been only working half time for a few years. Unfortunately, the cold hard truth of it has left me somewhat rattled. I’m reacting to this disturbing news in the way I’ve seen “old” people react to change. The realization of that, then, rattled me too. Let’s face it, I’m just rattled.
I’m now regretting not waiting until the new doctor arrives. My initial reaction was that I’ve never had a female doctor and at my age, I wasn’t sure I wanted one. But Dr P isn’t my favorite already. He and Dr B had been sharing one position on a weekly rotation ever since Dr P returned from a ten-year compassionate mission for his church in Africa.
I had to see him once for a vaccination or something when Dr B was on his off-week. Somehow the conversation rolled around to me having goats and that the Latin word for goat is caprine which descends from the same root as capricious. This is when he lost me. He quoted a passage about capriciousness from the Bible. Really? The only reference you have is the Bible?
After learning the disheartening news yesterday, I decided to contact Dr B and thank him for the years he looked after us.
I need to say however, that I’m actually a little perturbed with Dr B, and this may not be fair on my part because doctors are busy and they are people as well who undoubtedly struggle with the death of patients, but when Bill died, somehow I expected contact from Dr B. He is my doctor. Perhaps a condolence or an inquiry as to how I was doing. But I got nothing. The liver oncologist in Victoria called me to express her condolences and to let me know that Bill had been one of her favorite patients. But nothing from our own family physician. And, it’s not like he didn’t know Bill was gravely ill. He saw us both in his office two days before Bill died. He gave Bill a hug at the end of the appointment. He knew he was never seeing Bill again.
But, in the end, I took the high road. I let Dr B know that Bill really loved their connection (they were both thespians who would spend more time chatting about theatre than medicine) and that I was grateful to Dr B for unreservedly taking Bill on as a patient when I asked him to; during a time when people couldn’t get a family doctor locally. This was years before Bill’s diagnosis but he willingly took Bill on because Bill was my, then new, partner. And I thanked him for giving Bill a hug the last time he saw him.
I also couldn’t help express my concern about Dr P and I explained the Bible incident which causes me some reservation as a gay man. My hope is he will say: “Don’t worry about Dr P, he isn’t bothered about homosexuality” or “you should probably get another doctor” or something. Maybe “you’re welcome”.
I miss my doctor . . .