The Specialist

Yesterday I had to go to see my specialist.

Well, when I say “my” specialist I’m being a bit possessive; I’d never actually met him

before. And he had seen lots of others at the Outpatients during the day. And when you have several diagnoses like me, you get to see quite a variety of specialists.

Some of them are very specialised indeed; you daren’t discuss anything but the subject set out at the top of your appointment card, like “Oncology”, or “Otolaryngology” – that is if you can even pronounce those words.

Anyway, this one was specially friendly for a change. He’d come from the big hospital three hours away, as someone does every fortnight in his specialty, to help the faraway people in the regions.

I guess he was in his late thirties, about the age of one of my sons, and he introduced himself pleasantly, and had me meet a lady doctor who was with him, also very pleasant.

They never told me what she was there for; but I am more or less used to having extra people at my appointments, although you aren’t told whether they’re there to check up on the junior specialist, or to protect him from crazed patients fed up with waiting for an appointment, or to study at the great man’s feet. She never actually said a word, but just smiled pleasantly like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.

The subject in question was one of my internal organs, which is “a funny shape”, and has been the subject of ongoing scans for several intriguing years.

I say “a funny shape”, because that was the official diagnosis, as I think I have mentioned before, of my throat, when my Ear, Nose and Throat guy first looked down it many years ago.

And as you will see as the afternoon wore on, there was still a third “funny shape” involved in my inside yesterday.

I was relieved, as you would have been, to hear that on the scan my body part was still the same funny shape as it had always been for years.

They had three suggestions for treatment: the first was to do nothing, the second was to do what sounded like keyhole laser zapping, and third was a full-blown operation, with all the bells and whistles, to restore the beautiful shape that nature really intended my insides to be. I had no desire for heroic cosmetic measures, so I chose Number 1 suggestion, which was also the specialist’s preference.

So in order to revive the flagging conversation, I tentatively asked him if the radiologists had said anything in their report about my spinal disease, or my left hip, which have both been a bit of a bother lately to tell the truth.

The room lit up.

“Come with me and I’ll show you,” said the specialist.

So we traipsed into the next room, a procession of three, and looked at the computer screen showing the scan of my lower back. The doc moved the view through my body.

“Your spine certainly is a funny shape!” he said, or words to that effect.

“Yes,” I sighed, “I’m getting shorter all the time.”

And he showed me a bit of deterioration (which could be arthritis) on the hip. So it wasn’t just my imagination: that side is really more in trouble than the other one. No wonder the walking stick makes a difference! (See my earlier blog: Fashion Statement).

And so we parted, with the arrangement that I would come in for another scan in a year or so. Really a very pleasant afternoon interlude.

I hope you enjoy my sketch of the view from the hospital door as I waited for my ride home.