A Conversation with My Doctors


Hi, Doctor, it’s nice to meet you.

My name is Michelle Devon. You’ll likely want to call me Mrs. Devon. I’m used to that. I read somewhere on one of the health guru’s websites that I should expect you to call me by my last name, because it keeps a level of professionalism between us, reminding you that I am to be respected. But I want you to call me Michelle, instead, because I need you to see me as a real person, just like you, with a first name that my friends call me. In fact, you can call me Michy if you’d like. My friends often do.

I know you’re about to ask me a bunch of intake questions, and I’m going to answer them as honestly and completely as I can, but before you do, I want you to know a few things about me.

You’re a resident, which means you’re probably pretty young—maybe 24, 25 years old. I have a daughter who is 26 and a son who is almost 20. They are about your age. When you’re treating me, I want you to keep that in mind. You probably have a mother too, don’t you? My children, they love me, and I love them, and they are more than enough of a reason to want to stick around this world.

So when you look at your test results and then you see me in person, and you see this older woman (older than you, anyway) who is overweight and doesn’t look like she has much life left in her, remember that you have a mother about my age, and how would you feel if something were to happen to your mother? You see, if something happens to me, that’s likely how my children are going to feel.

In about 20 years, you’ll be my age. When that happens, you’ll realize you have a lot of life left in you, just like I do.

So if I tell you that my illness is affecting my sex life, don’t laugh to yourself and then joke with the other residents about why anyone would want to be with me anyway. Believe me when I say, someone does, and it’s not really any of your business. I don’t ask you about your sex life, so please keep your commentary about mine to the medical aspects of it.

And when I tell you that my illness is ruining my quality of life, please don’t snicker to yourself and wonder how much quality my life could possibly have. Because you don’t know.

You can’t possibly know the love that I have known. The beauty that I have shared. The wondrous and amazing things I’ve seen and done. The foods I have tasted. The treasures I have held. The experiences I have had. The friends whom I adore and am blessed to have.

I don’t care if I’m 43 or 143, I deserve a quality of life, and when I can remember these things I once could do, it is difficult for me to come to you and tell you that I can’t do these things any more, to ask your help so I can get some of these things back into my life, and have you sneer at me as though I don’t have any reason to want these things, like I don’t deserve them. Like you think I’ve done this to myself somehow, and that this is the consequence that I must suffer.

But I was like you once. Oh, I know you don’t believe me—or you don’t want to believe me—but I was just like you. I was young and smart and beautiful and thin and healthy and eager to begin really living my life for myself. And when I was your age, and I was all these things, I never once even imagined that in just 20 years, I’d be where I am now. I didn’t plan this. I didn’t ask for this.

And most importantly, I do not deserve this.

I never imagined 20 years ago that I’d be here today. Keep that in mind when you go about your day today. Because you can’t imagine yourself ever turning out like I have—but there was a time I couldn’t imagine it either, and here I am. Believe me, I said, “Not me, won’t ever happen to me…” And here I am. I realize now, it can happen to anyone, and I need you to understand that you are not immune.

So when I come to you and ask you for help to improve the quality of my life, please measure the quality of my life by my standards and not yours.

Now that brings me to the next part of our little talk here: treatment. I will do anything you ask me to do and I will try anything you ask me to try, but in return, I expect you to listen to me when I report back to you how those things have affected me. I will make adjustments to my treatment plan and I promise to be honest with you about my condition and the things I have tried, if you promise me that you’ll tell me what your test results reveal and explain to me why you’re asking me to do the things you’re asking of me.

If you’ll be honest with me about my treatment, I’ll be honest with you about my history and symptoms. If you’ll tell me what’s going on with my medical situation, so I can be a part of my own medical team, I promise to listen to your advice and do what you ask of me.

You are not a god. You are not superior to me just because you are a doctor. I am intelligent and educated too. I don’t need you to talk down to me and I don’t need you to purposefully talk over my level of medical understanding. I promise I won’t start explaining the finer arts of editing and grammar and punctuation if you promise you will use lay words that a non-medical person can understand.

I don’t expect you to be humble, Doctor, just respectful. I don’t ask you to demure to me, but I do ask that you listen to what I say.

I don’t expect you to perform miracles, but I do expect that your goal is to make me feel better, not just make my test results look better on a piece of paper.

If you can promise me these things, then I promise I will continue to patronize your clinic, your hospital and your labs and give my money and the money from my insurance company to your medical facility. I know if a patient is non-compliant, doctors can refuse treatment. Well, I also know that with my insurance, I can choose to go to another facility or hospital and spend my money there if you can’t treat me properly.

So really, the doctor/patient relationship is a contract, an agreement between the doctor and the patient to respect one another, to share needed information with each other, and to work toward a common goal: improved quality and length of life for the patient (namely, me).

In return, you are saving the life of a mother, daughter, sister, partner, wife, lover, person, friend, author, animal lover, foodie—and all the people whose lives I touch, and I, appreciate you for all you do cialis holland apotheke.

Now, with all this in mind, please, ask me your questions…


Love and stuff,





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2 Responses to “A Conversation with My Doctors”

  1. Farah says:

    Excellent, but a little heart breaking. I just hope those darned doctors grow hearts of their own, coz we, the people who love you, always have you in our hearts and minds.

    I hope you finally get the treatment you deserve, and all it takes is one smart doctor to really help you improve and feel comfortable again. I know comfort is something most of us take for granted, so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you minute after minute.

  2. Beth says:

    I’ve loved many things you’ve written, but I love this best. And I love you.

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