I’m sitting on a table with a broad sheet of paper covering it, the kind that crinkles when you move. The room is all tones of grey. I feel as though I, living in color, walked into a black and white world.
Arms of medical equipment reach from behind me and peer at me with robot-like heads.
I know how this conversation is going to go.
“So how are things going with Medicine A?” he will ask.
“I had an allergic reaction to it,” I will reply.
“How about Medicine B?” he will ask.
“I didn’t work. We are on medicine C,” I will say.
I know this because we have had this same conversation the past five follow up appointments.
The doctor pushes aside the curtain covering the door and sits on a rolling stool.
“So…” and the inevitable conversation begins.
“Well have we talked about surgery?” he asks after we arrive to its natural conclusion.
“Yes, you recommended it last time.”
We go over the options and he draws me a diagram. I nod and ask all the questions I’m supposed to ask. Risks? Recovery time? Success rate? All seem reasonable.
But then I bring up what I’m really afraid of: That a surgery is not addressing the real issue.
“Well that’s easy, you just need to do x, y, z,” he says.
“I’ve tried that. I don’t think that’s the solution,” I say, trying not to let my exasperation flow through my words. We’ve had this conversation before as well.
“Well, I’m the doctor,” he says.
I can feel the heat rising to my eyes. I know crying will not help in my effort to not seem like that crazy patient, but the tears are bubbling up faster than I can blink them away.
“I don’t think you should get the surgery,” he says, suddenly. I jerk my head back at this reversal.
“You don’t?” It’s more of a statement then a question.
Suddenly all my plans are evaporating. As scary as surgery sounded, it was a possible end to the pain. A potential solution when others have run dry. He was supposed to be the expert. The hyper-specialist. The one who gave seminars in his field and pioneered surgical techniques. Instead I am sitting here having repeating and contradictory conversations with a doctor who doesn’t listen.
“Let’s just stick with Medicine A for now,” he says.
“I’ll see you again in six weeks.”
And I sit and wonder what the point is of all this talk.