As you know, today was my CT and blood test, the results of which I will hear when I go to the doctor the middle of next week. On the one hand, it’s exciting to think that chemo could be behind me. On the other, I have no way of knowing for sure what the results will show.
In any event, that’s not what made the day emotional. What was overwhelming was seeing Dr. Ronit Grinbaum, the surgeon who did the initial two operations when I first went into the hospital 2.5 years ago. It is not hyperbole to say she saved my life. Twice within one week.
Typically, when I go to the hospital for a CT or other appointment, I will send the wonderful doctor a text saying that I’m around and would love to say hello. It never really works out. But, today, she had clinic hours and asked me to come on by if I had a few minutes.
IF I had a few minutes?? How could I not?
I went over to the clinic and she immediately ushered me in to her office where we chatted for a few minutes and discussed how things are going for me, etc. She then turned to the two med students shadowing her and proceeded to recall with remarkable accuracy the details of my initial hospitalization. From October 2011, without referring to her notes.
After our brief visit, we went back to the CT waiting area, where I sat and pondered how amazingly lucky I was that Ronit Grinbaum was on call when I was first admitted to the hospital. I remembered the care she delivered personally, not passing it off to any of a number of residents or students. I couldn’t help but think about how she went with me for my CT just six days after my initial surgery, prepped me herself and then stood with the technician behind the glass so she could see for herself in real time the cause of my pain.
I recalled how she chastised one of her residents for a less-than-sensitive comment he had made right before I was wheeled in later that night for surgery #2. I remembered plain as day how she argued with the head of the ICU – and prevailed – to allow me to remain for another 24 hours under intensive care after my second surgery, even though the more senior doctor wanted to make the bed available for another patient. I remembered how she personally made my initial appointment for me with Dr. Ayala Hubert, the oncologist under whose care I am now, and then called me at home the day following my discharge from the hospital to let me know she had arranged the appointment. I thought of the follow up visits to see her, where she took far longer than necessary (allowed?) to discuss my case with me, with a waiting room that was packed.
I sat there, in the CT waiting area, thinking all these things and more about this diminutive powerhouse of a surgeon who continues to maintain an interest in my case, and I was absolutely overcome.
I’m just one person in a never-ending line of patients for whom Dr. Grinbaum simply doesn’t have enough time. And, maybe she doesn’t treat everyone as wonderfully as she treats me. But, for whatever reason, we have this connection and I am blessed to have her on my team.
Seeing her today brought me face-to-face with memories I haven’t dwelt on in some time and, together with the possibility that chemo might be behind me for now, completely nailed me to the wall, rendering me emotionally spent for the rest of the day.
I’m going to enjoy a glass of wine now, and relish in the knowledge that, today, I had the privilege to be in the presence of greatness.