Last night at the LA Open tennis tournament, guess who sat down in the seat directly in front of me? If your first instinct was to say ex-girlfriend, I wish. Yes, it was an ex – my ex-CF doctor, which opened a flood gate of memories and emotions, most of them bad. What are the odds of this meeting happening? And it being the seat in front of me?
Here’s the backstory.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes managing my CF care as an adult. The greatest was leaving the care of Doctor Tennis at the wrong time. He used to be on the CF Foundation’s accredited center lists, but, for reasons unknown to me, abandoned that path and has since had a private practice as a pulmonary specialist. I stayed with him until I had major hemoptysis on a flight to Germany. I got pissed at him over that and switched to an official CF center, thinking they would take better care of me. Big mistake.
The CF Center I switched to at the time wasn’t, well, very aggressive in treating CF. For example, they used a peak flow for PFTs. Under their care I lost a load of lung function because they were too flexible with my care and I could push them to allow me to use orals when IVs were needed. Whereas, Dr. Tennis did PFTs every time I visited his office, which gave him a better picture of my lung function. He forced me to do IV’s when needed.
Then my CF Center improved and brought in a great team and I bounced back and forth between them and Dr. Tennis, until a hospitalization made me cut ties with him.
At the hospital Dr. Tennis practices at you need his care and an infectious disease doctor’s care when you’re in for IVs. They’re not really a team, but come together when needed. Unfortunately, I realized that the infectious care doctor, who I knew from visits to her office, really didn’t have a good handle on current CF IV treatments. I questioned her decisions. I thought I was doing it in a way that was pleasant – in a we’re partners in this and I know a lot about CF, too kind of way. However, she was immune to my infectious charm and wit, and broke up with me on day two of IVs.
The day before she came into my room and delivered that blow to the psyche, I had spoken to my wife about breaking up with her after the IVs. But she beat me to the punch. And, as it came on the second day of IVs when I was still mentally fragile, it bothered me (and my wife).
Both Dr. Tennis and another doctor said to me “it’s not you, it’s her,” or something close to that. It was good to know that I wasn’t the evil, crazy patient she made me out to be. Crazy? Well, perhaps, but she doesn’t have CF now does she?
So last night, it was comfortable talking to Dr. Tennis; it was okay. It’s probably been four years. His office never contacted me to see how I was doing like my current center did after three months. (I have a great CF Center now.) However, two interesting things did come up. He asked me if I’d like to participate in a trial of inhaled Cipro he’s starting. Yes. Why isn’t my center doing that? He told me his office would call to arrange it. I’ll believe it when the phone rings.
Then, when leaving the tournament, he mentioned the doctor that broke up with me and a piece of news about her. Oh, great. Thanks for that dart to the forehead. It’s not that I wish bad things for that doctor. I don’t. However, like a short fling with someone who broke up with you, you don’t really want to hear she has a new boyfriend either.
Past memories can be great, or they can bite. With CF it’s hard enough keeping bad memories boxed up without someone cracking them open for you. Next year, I think I’ll watch the tennis tournament on TV, or skip it completely.