March 24, 2010
The social worker entered the smallish exam room which is packed full with 5 people. She slowly takes it in and after introductions, mutters "what a support group." Indeed. I've never really given much thought about my family from a conceptual part. I had a good family growing up. Not perfect, but certainly no complaints. It was a good upbringing but I never thought it exceptional. It's what I knew, I guess. But after yesterday's visit to MD Anderson, I gotta say that I've never been more proud to be a part of my family. Just check out the picture my sister-in-law took of us while waiting in MD Anderson's waiting room. Everyone is smiling. Even me and I'm not exactly a happy-go-lucky person. And it's not a forced or fake smile to try to put a rosy picture on things. Because it's not rosy. We all know that. But still everyone is smiling. Smiling through the tears, oftentimes. Looking at it I'm struck with the knowledge that all of us would go to the ends of the earth for each other. Without hesitation. That's not exactly a common thing. But then the doc came in the room and I looked at it from his perspective. I can see why a lot of docs would limit the number of people in the room. It can get too emotional, too out of control, too distracted. Up until yesterday, I would've probably been one of those doctors that limits the number of family members for the sake of simplicity. Our doctor did not feel that way. He was fine with it. He just made it very clear that my brother is the captain of the ship and his choice is law. And after yesterday, I've changed my point of view on the matter. Why? In a word, hope. I gotta believe that sometimes it's all a patient has to get them self out of bed in the morning. And if you have a group of people around them supporting them in that endeavour, as a physician, why in the world would I want to come between that? I'll probably do something very similar to what this guy did - lay the ground rules and stand firm by them but allow the family to feel free to support their loved one with dignity.