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Sunday, May 29, 2011

What you see depends on what you are looking for.

Someone I don't know friended me on facebook last night.  Her profile picture was the "Peace, Love, Cure MS" picture, so I accepted.  I try not to accept people that I don't appear to know and have no mutual friends in common with, but I figured she found me in one of the MS groups.

We mailed back and forth a bit.  She seems sane, generally positive and very interesting to talk to.  We started talking about doctors and such, and she doesn't like hers very much.

I told her about my doctor, of whom I love.  I almost don't want to say her name, in case someone happens upon this blog and is looking for a new doctor.  I feel like she's something of my little secret, and I don't want to share.  It's silly, I know.  Her name is Dr. Dayaw. 

She's a neurologist, and I figure she must treat lots of patients with all kinds of things, but when it comes to MS, she's a complete expert.  She doesn't give you any BS about it, she just tells you like it is.  She's by no means a fortune teller, and has no idea if I'm going to lose my sight, or not be able to walk anymore, but she's upbeat and very practical about it.

When I first met her, I went to the MS Center around here.  They have everything there, and on your first visit, you meet everyone and just learn the kinds of things they do.  I didn't even know they had a doctor there, which I guess, if I thought about it, I would figure they did, but I had never thought about it.

By time I actually saw her, I was on information overload.  I was still in the mental place where I did not want to deal with my MS, but I knew that I wanted resources that I could turn to if I had a flare-up again.  The biggest resource was a neurologist.  So, she saw me there and then asked me to come to her office for a follow up. 

I had no idea what to expect.  She started to talk to medication, and it wasn't even a choice.  It wasn't between should you do it or wait and see what happens?  It was just expected that you start the meds.  The sooner you start the meds, the better.  It was which one are you going to take? At this point she gave me four packets of literature from the medication companies.  She said to read them, and come back in two weeks and tell me which you pick.  She did give me the basics of each, with their ups and down.  This one is every day, but the side effects aren’t as bad as this one that is once a week.    Yadda yadda yadda.

As I left the office, I didn't like her.  I just wanted a doctor who knew which medicine was the best and told me take it.  I didn't want to read any information and I didn't want any independence.  I didn't want to deal with MS really.  Truthfully, I never read any of those books.  They are still sitting in a pile, in their shrink wrap, on my bookcase.  I found out I had a former classmate with MS, and he took Avonex, and next time I went to see her, I told her I wanted Avonex too.

I still didn't like her much.  I didn't hate her, and if I had to have a neurologist, she was good enough, but I didn't have the appreciation I have for her now.  A few weeks later, someone on a message board told me I shouldn't be taking any of these drugs.  They don't really work and the doctor just gives you the one they get the most kick-backs for from the drug company. 

The moment that I could tell him that my doctor didn't actually pick it, I did, was the moment I knew my doctor was a sheer genius.  I don't know if it was on purpose or by accident, or just by a desire to have her patients control their own lives, but for whatever reason, she's a genius.  I will never wonder if she is telling me something because of the gain to her personally, simply because in that first interaction, she removed herself and any perks from the mix.

The neuros I saw in Springfield were...interesting.  There wasn't one that I would want to be my doctor.  I felt like they were all really smart people, but had no actual ability to speak to a patient.  When I could get them to tell me something, they would inevitably get paged away before I could really understand anything.

Dr. Dayaw isn't like that.  I'm sure she is just as busy as all of them, but she actually takes the time to talk to you.  I went to the MS support group last month for the first time.  I figure, since MS is all I can seem to think about, I might as well meet some other people who would be willing to talk about.

It's at the hospital where the MS Center is where she works.  She came to the group - which was shocking to me.  I figured doctors were far too important and busy to come to support groups.  I still don't know if it’s normal for a doctor to be there, but in any case, she was. 

When she arrived, we made eye contact, but she didn't show that look of recognition.  You know, that smile, or nod, or look in the eyes, that shows you know someone. 

I was kind of sad about actually, as I think she is the greatest person in the world.  But then I thought about it, and I'm certain she has hundreds of patients and she's only been my doctor a few months.  I'm doing fairly well, and the reality was, she probably shouldn't recognize me.  And I wasn't quite so sad about it.

But the group was still talking to me, and letting me introduce myself and what not.  I was talking about work and she said, "she hasn't told anyone she works with about her diagnosis yet..."

It was at that moment that I knew I had the best doctor in the world.  Not only did she recognize me, she *knew* who I was.  She knew my story and where I was in life.  Maybe she's gifted with some kind of photographic memory or something, but I like to just think it’s because she cares.  As a patient, I'm not just a disease, I'm a person.

One of my favorite songs is called "The Endless Day."  I honestly don't really know what it’s about, but I've decided the middle verse is about her.   She's totally the sun with these clouds.

"The clouds are a curtain.  The clouds are for certain.  The clouds have arrived and they will never go away.  The sun doesn't matter.  The sun doesn't chatter.  The sun just knows that it’s a star.  The sun is convinced that its a star, so it watches the clouds.  It watches the clouds.  It sits back and watches and the clouds just drift away."


Sherri said...

it has made ms so much easier to deal with having a neuro who is good... i've been lucky with my doc....and you have too!

there are so many horrid stories out there about people dealing with neuro's who lie to them, or make choices, or make no choices, or tell them a bunch of nothing.... hard to get in touch with or get an appt with...

my neuro is fabulous... he even gave me his home and cell phone numbers and i'm to call him directly when i have another relapse... amazing stuff

Just a girl with MS said...

I know! I have heard lots of those stories. My favorite is the ones who have neuros who tell them MS isn't painful.

I am very lucky to have my doc as my doc. I would say honest is the best word to describe her.