I was shaking in the waiting room. Everything I said in my last post about being mentally prepared for disappointment was true, but no amount of prep was going to make me feel okay when I was on the cusp of it happening. I couldn’t talk, and I couldn’t think about anything other than the fact that I’d driven all this way to be told to go back home and deal with it. But that’s not what happened.
For the first time, I met with a doctor who seemed to care about what was happening to me. Without having to ask questions or force him to speak, he laid everything out cleanly. He talked about surgery and a path forward. When he finished talking, all I could get out was “thank you.” I was choked up, and trying to say anything more would have meant I’d have actually cried in front of him, which I’m sure would have been a fantastic first impression to make.
In short, everything I heard about Cleveland Clinic was accurate. Actually, it might have even been understated. The main campus—there are multiple—was designed like an art museum, and everyone there was strangely…happy? It was like being on the set some hospital-related sitcom where everyone was jovial and strangely competent, so I guess the Canadian adaptation of Scrubs?
I’ll go back to Cleveland in a couple weeks to meet with two other surgeons on the “team,” because apparently this requires a full team to treat. And while I’m exhausted, both physically and mentally, from this trip, I’m also thankful. There are still many hurdles to clear, but, for once, I’ve been taken seriously. And I can’t tell you how good that feels.