Confessions from Nightingale’s Nest

Last week I went through another break-up. But I get ahead of my own story. I have an affliction, Nightingale Nest Syndrome I’ll call it, perhaps some would categorize it as an over-attachment disorder, in this case the patient’s attachment to doctor. To be more specific I am oddly connected to anyone who has opened me up and actually placed their hands inside my body. I’m sure this could be applied metaphorically to romantic relationships as well but in this incidence it is purely literal and entirely platonic in nature.

So the weird thing about growing attached to a complete stranger is that I’m aware they are complete strangers. I know nothing about them. What I can tell you about this doc is he’s married, has three children, was a swimmer and did a fellowship in Australia. Oh and removed my cancer and my kidney all the while keeping me alive. But nothing of his true character and frankly I’m not sure my doc even has a sense of humor. On numerous occasions I tried to rib him about being man enough to wear pink gloves if he was going to open me up, or hoping he at least had fun during surgery. I mean one of us should have been able to enjoy the challenge of my complications and tricky tumor placement. He had wanted a different outcome so no smile. Frankly as much as I tried to rile him, he didn’t flinch.

Unlike my gynecologist who had no problem going with the flow. (Get it!) When I teased that if my body was going to continue to grow things then next time it should be a money tree out my ass (picture a peacock tail of $100 bills). She let me know when that happened she would gladly help me pick it. Hell even her nurse offered to get in on that action. Now if I can manifest that we’ll all be set for life.

I suppose doctors have to maintain their own distance in order to do what they do. I mean my back surgeon was all business. My ex-husband went crazy when he made him wait to hear how things went before showing up in his tux for a night out. And every day in the hospital I watched the nurses ride a line between empathy and detachment. They certainly needed to have both in order to do their job. Trust me modesty goes out the window rapidly in survival. And not everyone does survive after all.

Which brings me to my time in the quad. My initial recovery at the hospital took place in a  room normally meant for unconscious patients. Four women sharing a large room divided only by thin sheets. This made for lots of shared information on many levels. Conversations ensued on whether or not you wanted to have a good looking doctor. The predominant consensus was no, at least among the women revolving in and out of the room. I don’t think it matters one way or another as long as they get the job done. In full disclosure my doc…..very handsome. So the other patients said. *wink*

One friend while in hospital told her doctor if he was going to come check on her again he would have to leave his assistant behind. When asked why, she replied, “Good God, He is way too beautiful. He will only raise my blood pressure which in my condition is a health risk. Besides he’s as old as my son which is simply inappropriate.” When the young doctor blushed she assured him there was nothing to fear. She loved her husband. But it became the running joke on every check-in.

When I left the hospital I was utterly grateful to the nurses for their care. Let’s be honest they do the Lion’s share of getting you well. Friend’s had brought me gorgeous orchids to brighten my room but I certainly didn’t want to lug them home. So I place one at each nurse’s station as a thank you.

I find it more unnerving as I get older that doctors are now my age and God help me sometimes younger. Now that freaks me out. It shouldn’t. Age can mean wisdom, at least it has to me, but sometimes youth comes with innovation and ego. Especially I find in surgeons, but let’s be honest it takes a certain amount of ego to do what they do. My back surgeon was chalk full of himself but he got the job done.

So the break-up you ask? This week was my final post-op check with the kidney surgeon. When I left his office I found myself sad. I wouldn’t be seeing him again. Oddly, I realized I’d miss him. My further scans are to be done by the oncologist going forward. So we said goodbye and he told me to call if I had any questions.

Now I’m not so desperate as to manufacture issues just to call him. Or actually develop further problems in order to see him. Do people actually do this? I suspect so. But I’m not sick folks, just attached to life as that is what I gained from surgery. And in extension to the doctor that got me through. We went to battle. Him with his scalpel and me with my will and we came out triumphant. It’s warrants some love. Non partisan, non biased love- I have the same feelings for my gynecologist. She removed my uterus, another personal battle of sorts. And as I mentioned before she has a fabulous sense of humor. The difference is I still get to see her once a year, so with her there was no need to be sad.