The following is from an email from one of our medical providers. It has been edited for the blog and the patient’s name has been changed.
Seven years ago I began seeing Melinda with two sons, age 8 and 11. She is an African American of very modest means, wears heavy eye makeup and a turban. She presents herself somewhat rigidly and is quite formal. She has few complaints other than her daily headaches which we have managed with a mix of meds that may be considered by some not to be the best choices, but it works. Over the years I have exempted her from electric shut offs and help her with SAGA cash forms.
Her sons have allergies and asthma, and have never really been sick. At the first and each visit thereafter it has been obvious that she is pretty strict with her clean cut boys. They listen to her; they keep quiet. They do their homework and stay out of trouble. I commented once that I can tell she is working hard to keep them on the straight and narrow. She appreciated that. The boys probably think she is too strict.
I panicked once when I noticed “ Depends” adult diaper sticking out of her skirt. I had no idea she was incontinent. How could I not have known this? So I asked at the next visit. She moved to Norwich 3 years ago. Norwich is about 30 minutes away for me. For her, it is an all-day trip for which she will wear Depends “ just in case” she can’t get to a bathroom while making the excursion by bus and by foot.
Today I saw her with her now 15 year old and she proudly informed me that her older son is graduating and going to college. They do well in school. They are packing to move back this way. The trip to the doctor won’t be so long any more!
The boys appear to be fine young men. Mom has survived her anxieties and the boys have survived the inner city culture of their neighborhoods.
She reminisced about the last 7 years and remarked that I had watched them grow up. She thanked me for being their doctor all this time and she wanted to give me a gift. Then she handed me a Food Lion bag with two small red apples and a large box of Food Lion brand raisins.
I ate one of the apples on the way to my sons’ swim practice.