Sunday, August 13, 2006

Best Clinic Ever

I drove by myself to UPMC again. I signed in, then stamped my own parking, which is appreciated by the receptionist. I looked around and saw an empty chair. I asked the woman next to it if someone was using it, and she said, “No, I’ll clean it off” and she reached across and started taking bags off the chair NEXT to the empty. The sweet thing about this was that it was one of the good chairs. There are regular reception room chairs but 2 special comfortable ones. Protocol is you leave your bag on your chair when called for blood draw, so I had assumed the good one was being used. Once I sat down, I looked at all the gray and serious faces and said, “I would have been happy with the empty one. Now I feel guilty for getting the good chair.” Got little interest, but post transplant clinics are a tough room.

Blood draw went well. There was a gray looking, resigned eyes, skinny girl, 21, in at the same time. The nurse talked to her in a smoothing tone, assuring her they used small needles. It must have been her first clinic. My first clinic, the same nurse had told me to get ready, because she had to use a square needle. When I had a shocked response, she laughed and said that she had already slipped the needle in, so smoothly I hadn’t noticed it. She had seen me coming. :-)

When I came back from breakfast, in an alcove down the hall from the main waiting room, there was room on the couch. Score! Twice in a day, the good sitting spot. I felt like I had won the lottery. I settled in, as I typically wait 2 or 3 hours for blood results to come back and to see a doctor. I was dozing off when, barely 30 minutes later, I heard my name called. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I got up quickly, and walked briskly down the hall. To my bewilderment, the nurse was taking a different guy into the examine rooms. I went back to the alcove, and said to no one in particular, “I was sure I heard my name called – I must have been dreaming.” That set off some conversation about the whole clinic experience. All of a sudden, I heard it again; this time the nurse was coming further down the hallway. I jumped up and said, “You DID call my name,” and everyone in the area started laughing, including the gray 21 year old. I had been laughing at myself for having the illusion I had been called, and everyone was sort of tuned into that, so when I got up the second time, it was funny. Turns out the nurse had called two names before, and she was letting the first guy in and hadn’t noticed me coming.

So had the best seat twice, was taken in quicker than usual, and got a lot of down people to laugh. I’ll take that. Then it got better. I was taken off 2 of my drugs, and was put on "as needed" for a third, as my blood work was at good levels for 2 months post transplant. Even bigger, I don't have to go back for three months unless my blood work goes funny. I can get blood drawn every two weeks, instead of weekly, and can do it locally. Best clinic ever.


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