For those familiar, you will know I recently relocated, a major move that included leaving a warm climate for one substantially colder.  One may ask the reason, but as I try to humorously put it, ‘there are more folks here to dig the hole’.  In saying that I convey most of my family and friends live here. It is a coming home of sorts, but with a different slant, a coming home after thirteen years of being away.  It is also a chance to reconnect with many old friends, some I’ve not seen for many years.  However, with it comes all the mechanics of relocating, establishing my residency in a new state, finding a barber and, most importantly, identifying several doctors for the day-to-day nuances of dealing with cancer.  Principally, and most urgent, is identifying a primary care physician, a ‘family doctor’ for things such as pre-operative work necessary for things such as my ‘oil changes’.

A part of the identification, and of significant importance, is the hospital associations of the selected physician.  The challenge here is that, at least compared to that from where I had lived, medical care is not the greatest in this area.  The hospitals, while ok with the standard kind of things, have little experience with complex cases such as mine.  While I will continue with my former doctors as the primary caregivers for my cancer, should I get ill for some reason, cancer related or not,  will depend on the local facilities for care.  It is, in many respects, a scary proposition since the best of cancer care could be for naught if I become ill, while in my compromised state, from some ‘ordinary’ sort of sickness.  With this in mind I began my research with my starting point being those who have best-managed my cancer care, Ron and Paul.

Interestingly, when it came to someone for local cancer related issues, Ron recommended a former colleague now working at a less than stellar cancer center.  The recommendation creates a paradox for me because while better served with a known entity, I may, suffer ill-effects from the associated facility.  Alternatively, neither Paul nor Ron know anyone associated with the better facility which leaves me in the dilemma of choosing a doctor or a facility.   My gut tells me to go with the facility, but my brain tells me to go with the doctor, Quite the paradox and it seems since it is not quite the urgent matter, I will remain undecided for now.

Selecting a general practitioner is anther matter.  Since I am overdue for stent replacements, it was necessary to see someone for the pre-operative work.  Interestingly, in the little town in which I now reside, I found a young doctor who seems to very well align with my philosophies and approaches.  We had an interesting conversation about a number of things, the least of not being end of live decisioning.  She had a perspective varying from nearly every physician I’ve ever encountered, informing me of a provision allowing terminal sedation.  While not technically assisted suicide, it is effectively the same because the law allows the doctor, when pain management is no longer effective, to ‘overdose’ the patient with pain medication, effectively terminating the patient’s life.  She also offered a number of other perspectives, aligning , for the most part, with my belief in avoiding the ‘heroic’ and remaining within the parameters of reasonable probability.  I liked her and thought she may be a reasonable choice for my needs.  The one outstanding issue with her is the hospitals at which she can practice.  Again, the jury remains at bay, but seems close to a verdict.

In the meantime I continue settling in, unpacking, finding things packed away and necessary for life in this climate.  It is a challenge, but in the end it seems like the big things are coming together, the necessary being effected and the window to resume a ‘normal’ life within range.

Happy reading, happy thoughts and happy trails.

As always, feel free to comment or you may email me at lifeabstractions@gmail.com

ciao

Lifesabstractions

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