On Tuesday, mom and I went to her bi-monthly Ophthalmology appointment for Macular Degeneration. She has been undergoing injections to stabilize her vision for the past 10 years. I appreciate her doctor’s skill, compassion and professionalism. He takes all the time in the world that each patient needs. It’s old school and a dying art. I also appreciate mom’s commitment to this terrifying process. First we check in with the technician Steve who is an extrovert. Over the past 18 months, we have learned that he moved here from New York City; he is Jewish;he and his wife divorced amicably; he has many female friends; he organized a monthly potluck with his single female friends and he likes Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black. In other words, he is a really cool nerd. It goes without saying and I will say it anyways, mom cannot relate to him but she enjoys the attention.
Next, we met with Dr. Walsh who moved here from Montana. We know that he left Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital after one year because of philosophical differences. Dr. Walsh puts patient care ahead of billing goals. He started a private practice in a lovely house in Lebanon. It is decorated shabby-chic style. He is originally from Montana and calls women “gals”. He goes on wonderful trips to places like Disney World and Carribian. During this latest appointment, Dr. Walsh drew us a map that provided a short-cut route to the local mall and Italian Restaurant. He called it “lover’s lane”.
At this point, you are probably wondering why the Ophthalmologist drew a map while waiting for the Novocaine to smooth the way for the injections. We told him that we would be going out to lunch and shopping after the next appointment in two days. Oh my, he said, I will draw you a map to the Powerhouse Mall. He mentioned a lot of plunging here and there. It sounded like a great adventure.
Thursday morning, mom called and asked if Yvonne could join us. I told her that we were going to the Powerhouse Mall and she said “I want in on that.” I am certain that most everyone at the St. Johnsbury House wanted in, but Yvonne is the anointed one. I said Of course. And then thought to myself that this would not be a normal doctor’s appointment. Who am I kidding. None of these appointments are normal.
When I picked them up at the St. Johnsbury House, they could hardly contain their excitement. I asked mom if she had warned Yvonne about Dr. Walsh. She said No, I want her to be surprised. Yvonne said Oh yes, I know that he runs late because he spends a lot of time with each patient. Mom said Well, today he is going to rush so that we can go to lunch on time. I said I don’t see how that is possible. Mom replied He will fit me in between patients. You’ll see. What was she talking about you ask? It’s a question I ask myself with every mom encounter.
We arrived at Dr. Walsh’s office and mom went into the technician’s office. She emerged 5 minutes later and informed Yvonne, myself and the rest of the patients that Steve told her Dr. Walsh was rushing through his appointments so we could go to lunch on time. I said Steve was kidding you. She gave me a withering look and said No he was not.
Next mom went into Dr. Walsh’s office for the two day check to monitor the eye for infection. At some point, Dr. Walsh came out of the office and said I thought you were going to lunch on Tuesday, but it’s today. I smiled and said Got the map. There was no rushing. Yvonne seems to ignore the meta-story that weaves in and out. It’s like she and mom came from the same womb.