Thursday, August 4, 2016

Don't Face It Alone

Just a pause from the wisecracking for a shout-out and some advice. Don't face your illness alone if you can help it. I don't.

My stalwart ally and zealous advocate through all of my adventures has been my wife, Kathleen. Starting with the tumor at the roof of my mouth in 2004, just two years after we were married, Kathleen has kept track of logistics, battled bureaucrats, and pushed me to seek care when I would rather stay home. She has come to every key doctor visit and taken notes, asked questions, and pointed out discrepancies. She has been there every time I have awakened from general anesthesia, and she has sat by my bedside, catching medical errors before they could cause me harm. While not a doctor, she is an expert on my health.

As a patient, I don't think like a doctor. I forget to ask questions, and I miss details. I often defer. Even though my doctors have all been very smart and dedicated, they cannot watch my health as closely as Kathleen does.

When you are a sick patient, you cannot depend on yourself to be at your best. Your judgement will be clouded by anxiety, denial and whatever mental effects your illness may have. You need an ally. As a doctor, I have seen this role played, not only by spouses, but by parents, siblings, children, nieces, nephews, friends, and neighbors. Look for help, and you will probably find it.

Thank you Kathleen. I love you, and I wonder if I would even be alive without you.


  1. Thanks for the wisdom, Tom. And, you're obviously very lucky to have Kathleen.

  2. Love this. She's a formidable ally and the two of you make a fabulous team.

  3. Rachel (from softball)August 12, 2016 at 5:29 PM

    Aww! What a wonderful testament to love in action!!