Dr Canada and the hug

Today was a nice experience. Around new year I’d received a letter in the mail advising me of an appointment with Dr Canada on the 11th of January. The letter didn’t specify what this meeting was about, but it doesn’t take a genius to guess it was a follow up visit.

So this morning, way too early, Mom and I hop into the car and join the highway rush. Why does traffic slow down? What’s happening on the road that so many cars needs to clump together? Anyhow, we drove to the General.  Mom (Marcelle) had awoken me early for a shower with the idea that I ought to look good today – and she is right. I ought to have looked good, and despite my lack of hair,  puffy eyes (too sleep deprived from a certain younger brother who kept me awake while he had his midnight snack), and groggy expression, this morning’s effort paid off. With a bit of blush on the cheeks I looked . . . hmm . . . acceptable.

But wouldn’t you believe it – first thing Dr Canada says to me as he walks into the room (with me having been weighed and observed), “You look pretty today.”

Wonderful man.

Though honestly he is excellent and I consider myself lucky to have him as an oncologist. Both he and his assisting medical student checked my breast. Like my mother, he suggested my itchy nipple was due to hormonal changes – “keep it moisturized”  he suggested.

And then we got onto the topic of radiotherapy. I presented him with my options: 50 grey over five weeks, or 40 grey over three weeks, with grey being a measure of radiation. According to him, there’s little difference between the two. In some cases there is a worry about toxicity and the heart for 40 over three week, but because I’m having my therapy on the right side (away from the heart) it shouldn’t be a problem.

Little difference, but ultimately less radiation and a shorter time span . . . why wouldn’t I choose three weeks of radiotherapy over five? Maybe there  are reasons, but they’re not shouting out.

Which led my mother to ask, “are there any supplements she should take/avoid during radiotherapy?”  and Dr Canada suggested avoiding vitamin E during treatment, but deferred to my mom, saying that she was the expert in that area.

Expert in that area! You know what that means? Mom was totally googled.

And yet he was quite cool about her alternative health background – not the least bit condescending or on edge. Instead he gave us his opinions about which supplements help, which to avoid, and which are rather unclear in their effectiveness. He also followed this up by suggesting I read some books on diet because while they may not be proven methods, they have sense behind them. “There are some well thought out ideas.”

AND then! So surprising – he gave me a hug and wished me luck. Seriously, no joking, we hugged. It was nice. Considering the heavy implication of our conversation, the reason for the visit, the fear I’d experienced last weekend, his hug was curative.

Medicine mixed with compassion, it’s the very best treatment. Today was a good visit, and it’s left me highly impressed.

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4 thoughts on “Dr Canada and the hug

  1. Hi Catherine,

    Isn’t it great to have a hug? I think Dr. Canada is cool for having done so. Brings a bit of warmth and humanity to the doctor-patient relationship at a time when it’s most needed.

    I still remember fondly while I was in hospital after my surgery how my anesthesiologist would visit me every day to check up on my progress with respect to pain control. Then with a flourish, he would put on his surgical cap and say, “I’m off to surgery.” This was in response to my comment just before he put me under for my surgery where I had told him I thought he looked cute in his surgical cap. He made me smile every time he did his ‘florish’. Aahh, what bliss for the soul!

  2. Dr. Canada is amazing! He always hugs and makes you feel good and important. Even during a very stressful and trying time in his own life, he would do his best to make you feel better. You are lucky to have him as an oncologist. I had to beg him (right down on my knees eight years ago) to take me as a patient; which he did.
    All the Best
    Lisa Baker

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