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I see it as a personal failing when The Mom asks if I know someone who can do something and the answer is no. Even worse is if my lack of connectedness sends her to the phone book to look someone up.

It’s true that it’s a point of pride that under most circumstances, we do know a guy. When L’il Sis needed a new rheumatologist, I called my guy up and got her in. No problem. Because I feel, then, that I know I’m offering someone who provides a quality service. In fact, almost all my favourite (ie ones I will go to and trust) doctors come on personal recommendations.

A few rheumatologists ago, L’il Sis and I were seeing the same doc. He was alright, in that he wasn’t too bothered whether or not we took the crazy meds he was offering and his office was conveniently located. Which is something to consider when you’ve got arthritis in your spine – long commutes to and from the doctor aren’t always possible. So someone nearby, or at least within an affordable taxi ride are key. But when I got put on a med that gave me such a migraine that I had to go to my GP (who, was, by the by, my Grandmother’s and as such came highly recommended) for a shot of demerol, that I decided my time with him was up.

“Okay, Doc,” I said. “I need someone better. I need The Guy. I need the one you keep in back, in reserve. The special one you only send your best clients to.” A few months later I met The Best Doctor in Toronto. He’s a genius. His patients have literally been so grateful, they’ve built him a wing. Yes, his own wing.

So when it looked like I had Crohn’s, I went to see the doc my GP sent me to and after getting my diagnosis, went to see my new favourite rheumatologist. I explained that after having performed a colonoscopy, this doc refused to call me by my first name. Now, I know that must sound a bit odd, but I need a certain amount of familiarity in a doc. And for the doctor-patient relationship to be comfortable. So I asked him if he knew a guy.

“I’ve got a great guy for you. Does all my colonoscopies. Great drugs. You’ll love him. Have my secretary set it up.”

That’s the kind of ringing endorsement you want. And it’s true, my GI doc is great. You need a good team.

So now, after ages of suffering with terrible docs, L’il Sis is back on track. She’s seeing my guy. And I’m glad we’ve got that covered.

But it doesn’t always work like that. I needed to see an OBGYN doc and The Mom quite liked hers. So I got an appointment. And it was the worst. Here was a man who not only expected me to be compliant, immediately, he wasn’t up for any of my well-researched suggestions. Wasn’t even up to considering them. I was irate for a while and then realised that he’s The Mom’s guy for exactly these reasons. He wanted me to take birth control pills, which I did not want to do. This is the man that’s kept The Mom in hormones for Lord knows how long. Which is when it dawned on me that all ‘The Guys’ we know are good, but in a subjective way.

One has to be careful who one asks for A Guy. So we’ve built up a network of people who know people. The Mom isn’t always great at providing such people, but Her Best Girlfriend is utterly fantastic, and so The Mom may not have a lot of people at her disposal, but it’s more than made up for by this one particular lady.

You can call this woman, day or night, with a desperate request, and she’ll say, in a voice that is incredibly calming, something like, “Don’t worry. I’ve got just the person.”

It doesn’t matter what you need, she actually does know someone. But what happened when nobody knows anybody? The Mom gets the phonebook out.

Which is how she finds guys like The Critter Gitter, who turned up one evening at dusk at L’il Sis’ place, several years ago. There were squirrels in the attic. Not a good scene. So The Critter Gitter (seriously, that’s actually what he’s called), rocked up, set out a lawn chair on the grass, went into the attic, shuffled around a bit, came back downstairs and got out a 6-pack of beer. He assured us this was the only way to catch a squirrel. He drank the beer and in the morning, the squirrels were gone.

Though he was effective, if a bit unusual, he has not become one of Our Guys. We can do a serious amount of strange but that guy…

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