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Wait for it….

“I can’t believe he hasn’t called back yet.” My father says, his voice slow and heavy with the weight of his misery. “I’ve left multiple messages.”

I have as well but this doctor is notoriously bad at returning calls and his staff, one overwhelmed woman with an edge of defensive indignation is possibly worse. Yet for two years my father has been under their haphazard care. We should have found another doctor by now, but my father is kind of haphazard himself.

“I’ll try again,” I say, hoping to get some answers but really just wanting to get off the phone and get something done. It’s been 28 minutes on this road with little if any progress. Really it’s been 20 years.

“Okay, but wait…” he stalls, hoping to drag out a little more time with me. “I’ve got these papers we should talk about…”

I hear some shuffling and the phone drops.

“Ow!”He yelps from a distance and I hear more scurrying about. I make an effort not to roll my eyes while compulsively unraveling my third piece of gum. It’s better than the ice cream tub calling my name.

This doctor has one last carrot he’s been swinging over my father’s head to ease his chronic pain. It’s a new experimental drug; one that’s supposed to be even more effective than morphine. He brought it up in October, scheduled the trial a few weeks later then abruptly canceled it. Now three months of hemming, hawing and wait, wait, wait has left my father as wilted as the carrot. Still, he’s chomping at the bit, always looking for the thing that’s going to save him. I wish I believed something could save him.

“Dad,” I call out, even though I know it’s useless. Still, I’m slow to learn that nothing about him or our conversations can be rushed.

“Okay?” I ask after a few minutes when labored, exasperated breaths signal his return.

“No,” Is his immediate response, then “Yes. No. Yes. Hold on, I need to…”

“Dad!” I cut in before he leaves me hanging again, “I’m going to call him now. I’ll call you back,” I say and quickly hang up.

With one breath doubling as a stress reliever and a confidence builder, I go to dial the doctor on his personal cell. Even though he has been irresponsible returning calls and giving information, I’m still embarrassed about using the personal number he gave me awhile back. It makes me angry. Why can’t people just do what they’re supposed to do?

Amazingly he answers on the third ring. Although he is clearly not happy to hear from me, after months of runaround, I finally nail him down to a day for the trial. Right before we hang up I think to ask the name of the drug. I can’t believe in all this time I never asked.  But I actually can. Managing my father’s life is like throwing a sheaf of paper into the air. You just deal with the ones that fall in your lap first.

“I’m blanking on the technical name…” The doctor pauses and struggles until finally it hits him. I kind of wish I could hit him. “It’s Zinconosomething. Just look up Snail pain relief.”

“Snail pain relief.” I repeat and shake my head disbelieving.  Of course.

The Universe always knows when I need a good laugh.

Yeah, it's true.

Yeah, it’s true. Click if you want to read about it.

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

29 responses »

  1. Oh, how I’ve heard this story before, from different people and for different ailments, but always it’s the same story. Once I had to send my doctor a self-addressed stamped envelope to get a written prescription (before computers) to get my medicine! Yes, why can’t people do what they’re supposed to do.

    I hope your dad gets on the trial, and it works and finds quick relief from pain. Keep us posted!

    • I’ve realized no one does what they’re supposed to do… i swear I wait for call backs from contractors – and I’m paying them buckets of money! What is wrong with people?! And thank you.

  2. I love you! Reading this I wanted to hit the doctor. I’ts so frustrating!! I hope that your father (and you!) gets the relief he needs. xoxo

    • It sucks dealing with drs and we seem to have our share of difficult ones. Although my father isn’t an easy patient either… i don’t know. But thank you. That would be a miracle but they happen.

  3. Good luck mama, with you dad. FIngers crossed that the snail pain offers speedy relief. ❤

  4. I could NEVER do this. Chasing down doctors and dealing with your father….God, I just shudder thinking about the patience and compassion it requires and that I lack. Glad you are sharing this with us so we can remind you what a great job you’re doing being a loving daughter.

  5. I’m so glad your father has you. Doctors can be so frustrating. “This blood test says you’re dying and need to get medicine immediately….the earliest I can see you is next Tuesday….”

  6. Oh how frustrating! I cannot believe the doctor didn’t know the name of the drug. That is ridiculous.

  7. LivingsTheDream

    What lovely, evocative writing – about a really frustrating situation! Good luck with the trial.

  8. Deliberately Delicious

    I feel for you, caring for an ailing parent while also raising your boys. This is not an easy time in our lives. Hang in there and may the snail drug work!

  9. I see your s ail venom and raise you the alpine nuns urine (menopausal) that was injected into me — it’s a fertility drug. Why I thought nuns could help, well, I just don’t know.

  10. Did you get the medicine after all that runaround from the doc? I hope it worked. Must be tough for you and your dad to go through this.

  11. Unresponsive doctors make me want to climb the walls. You are a really, really good daughter.

  12. I’m glad you can see the humor in that ridiculous situation. Snail venom? Snails can bite and poison us? Great. Another thing to worry about. I wrote about this post in yeah write’s coffee house. I hope you don’t mind.

    • ha! only venomous ones apparently called cone snails. crazy. and always thrilled to be remarked upon.. hopefully positively… I love love love YW but I must say, I’ve never visited the coffee house and I do love me some coffee.

  13. Wow. I may never look at snails the same way.


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