What makes me tick? A post of thanks.

A slightly unusual post today, but ideas bouncing around in my mind late last night drove this, as I considered things I have to be thankful for. Yesterday, I very narrowly missed (by a couple inches) what could have been a horrific accident while traveling at highway speeds. After my heart rate finally returned to normal, I vowed to spend the rest of the day remembering how very lucky I am. How lucky I was to be going to pick up my wonderful son, to have the money to take him out to a fun dinner at the B-spot and then to buy groceries for things to pack for his little breakfasts and lunches the rest of the week.

I mused more broadly about the great support system I have in my friends. I don’t have a huge family. I’m very close to my sister but she lives several states away so seeing her is rare. My Mom and I are close, but as she advances in age and our roles continue to shift, we have fewer and fewer things that overlap, and I no longer want to burden her with my worries or problems. So I am very lucky to have a lot of great friends, friends who love me, who accept me, who are there to help me fix the emotionally broken parts, which are kind of a lot these days. I often talk about my great friends, and it’s true.

I went to see one of my long-time specialty physicians yesterday morning and was thinking about our longterm doctor-patient relationship as well, and I realized I’ve been really, really fortunate to have literally dozens of physicians who have helped fix all the physically broken things in me as well. I decided I wanted to call a number of them out in some fashion, so that’s the blog today.

Living in an area of the country where we have access to such incredible, top medical providers, and my good fortune to have, for many years now, had insurance that allows me to affordably visit them for myriad problems, is a very lucky thing indeed. While I spent most of my youth free of injury and unusual sickness, once I got to college, my health problems began, and it’s been a long and complicated journey since then.

The men and women I call out below are truly excellent physicians, providers who are a testament to their profession. It’s absolutely true, in the case of many, that without their precision, skill and care, I would not be here today writing this blog. Some of them saw me for free or gave me as many free samples as they could when I was unemployed or on public assistance with no insurance. Many have stayed late and double or triple booked themselves to fit me in. They call me after-hours and on weekends to follow-up after I’ve had a surgical procedure. They answer my emails, return my phone calls and messages on MyChart and seem glad to have a patient well-versed in medical terminology with whom they can co-manage my care. Some have held my hand and had tears in their eyes when I described a problem. Some took a careful amount of time drawing a diagram and discussing challenges of how we would deal with the complications I present in an upcoming surgery. One offered to pay for half of my schooling if I would go to medical school. One used words that changed the course of my life forever. Another put my embryos inside me, and yet another took out my son nine months later through an opening in my stomach. I cannot begin to describe the impact they have had on my life, and so I will simply say thank you, thank you, thank you. If you don’t care to read the list, you can stop right here.

MY HEROES:

Kevin Geraci (UH/Gastroenterologist) – A doctor whose sole driving force is to make sick people well.
Karen Jaffe (UH/GYN – ret.) – Without her push, I would never have gone to fertility specialists and would not have my son.
William Hurd/James Liu (UH/Fertility specialists) – who had to work in tandem on my egg retrieval bc of my complications.
Abdelaziz Saleh (CCF/Maternal-Fetal Medicine) – for his guidance and careful scalpel work that brought my son into the world outside.
Victor Fazio (CCF/Colo-rectal surgeon – ret.) – Without his frank words that pushed me to GI surgery, I would be dead.
Bo Shen (CCF/GI) – For his great teamwork and follow-through, and his national reputation for helping others like me.
Michael Springer (UH/GI) – For always talking me through the annual scope and biopsy for cancer.
Bram Kaufman (Metro/plastic surgery) – for removing that suspicious mole, and for fixing my mom’s hand.
Stephen Houser (Metro/ENT surgery) – for the sinus surgery that finally stopped my sinus/ear infections.
Chris Herbert (CCF/Podiatry) – for both bunion surgeries, and for the many running/foot consultations.
Daniel Mazanec (CCF/Spine Center) – for the years of acupuncture on the biggest skeptic, that work amazingly well.
Michael Harris (Metro/PM&R) – for always seeing me whenever I need seen, for never giving up on fixing my problems.
Kermit Fox (Metro/PM&R/Sports Medicine) – for trying to help this damned, 3-year knee problem.
Daniel Maklmaki (Metro/PM&R) – for his careful hand under fluoroscopy, and for forgiving my foul mouth during injection.
Tim Walsh (Metro/PT) – the only non-physician on this list, Tim has spent hours fixing broken shit on me, and will always have my gratitude.
Chris Brandt (Metro/General Surgery) – for the careful and complex removal of my gallbladder in a road map of scar tissue.
Nora Lindheim (Metro/PCP) – for being the best damned primary care doctor anyone could have asked for.

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