The one nice thing about having taken care of my parents during their multitude of death-defying diagnoses over the last few years, is that I have amassed years and years of relationships with the best specialists in town (starting at Markey Cancer Center and working over to St. Joe for the heart surgeries).
Surprising all my relatives (who cringe a lot and beg me to be quiet), I've discovered that all of our good doctors have been very happy to answer the lists of questions I prepare beforehand as they relate to before/during/and aftercare. (I've fired all the bad doctors. I am not rude. I am specific.) They know I'm there as an advocate, and to help take care of my family. I'm not there to second-guess them, or play doctor; I just do my homework quietly and want them to give me the most thorough answers they can. (For good measure, I take along a copy of Dr. Oz's The Good Patient, and I conspicuously flip through it.) As directed by Dr. Oz, I make sure we regularly bring pizza and donuts to the nurses, and they all get cards from us every Christmas.
My parents are accustomed to small-town care where the doctors are never to be questioned, and where even the most routine appointment will mean an 8-hour wait in a room-full of sick people. Left to their own devices, they would put up with it too. Regardless of their protestations to the contrary, I fully believe they would be dead had I not dragged them out of there and relocated their health care here. (At least my Dad -- who had his triple-bypass here -- agrees with me.)
Seeing as how they all pour so much well-insured money into the Lexington Health Care system, I do consider us good customers.
And seeing as how I can't seem to get any of my own health-care providers to pay attention to me these days, I didn't see anything wrong with piggy-backing a few questions onto my stepdad's post-op follow-up yesterday with his GI/surgeon. A. He's one of my favorite doctors ever; B. He saved my stepdad's life (though it really was touch and go there for awhile, no kidding); and C. He didn't mind that I blogged and twittered the whole thing. Transparency didn't seem to scare him one bit.
Yes, I realize it was a little unorthodox to BOTHER him. And yes, I realize it's the equivalent of a rude guest who pulls up their shirt at a cocktail party and says, "hey Doc, would you mind looking at this place on my back?"... but y'know, I'd just gone beyond good manners.
So I slipped him my cell number with a note that said I needed some medical advice. It's not like I was hitting on him. And I figure, he's a GI surgeon; this is the anatomical neighborhood he works in (it's not like I asked their dentist).
My parents are horrified... Beyond embarrassed.
But hey, it worked. He called me at 6 o'clock this morning. I asked him if he could give me a good referral based on the pain I was explaining (the whole Deep Vein Thrombosis/Kidney Stone/Passive-Aggressive diverticular ovary), and he went one better and said he'd do my test himself. And he's figuring out some new ways that don't involve me drinking two liters of liquified sulfur-Pez.
Sigh. He's like my own Dr. Oz.
He just works a little further South.