Please Doctor!

Please Doctor, try to understand,
This man is not "JUST ONE MORE PATIENT", to me.
He is MY HUSBAND, the one with whom my life
Has been intricately woven for forty years.
And I am his caregiver.
All I asked for was information and perhaps reassurance.

You are a bright young specialist, with many demands on your time.
Perhaps you were tired or not feeling well yourself today.
I was also exhausted. I have cared for this dear man
And his many cancers for two years.

And now we have coped with several weeks of anxiety
About a new, potentially threatening problem.
We had waited two hours in your waiting room.
I did not mind being excluded from your examining room,
But I did expect to be informed of your findings.

I can still see your steely eyes
And hear your condescending tone as you said to me
"My, my, you ARE concerned about him, aren't you?"
Making me feel like a naughty child for asking questions.

How could you know of the stresses of the past two years?
It was the first time you had seen us.
My poor darling has been shuttled from doctor to doctor,
To be poked and prodded; pushed and pulled,
From Hospital to Hospital, X-ray to Ultrasound,
Medical Centre to Cancer Clinic,
Radiation to Chemo therapy, Lab test to Lab test,
Blood transfusions to protective isolation,
He now has developed new symptoms which have
Reduced him from a big, strong, powerful man
To the bent, shrinking shadow you see before you,
While I have watched and agonized,
Supported, nursed, medicated, and cared for.

I asked because he is so highly medicated with morphine,
that he would not be able to tell me what you had said;
I am well aware of privacy ethics, But how can I nurse him
Intelligently if I don't know what is going on?
Of course I am concerned! Wouldn't you be?

In spite of the fact that your brief report,
When you gave it, was positive in nature,
I was left with deep hurts and strong negative feelings,
And cried all the way home, because of your attitude.

Please doctor, have a little compassion for the people
Who suffer with their suffering loved ones!

Honoria A. Groves

Nov. 1991