This saying is likely something we’ve all heard in our lives. It’s often told to those seeking employment in an incredibly competitive world where people are seeking employment against hundreds of other potential candidates, and if you’ve ever been to a networking event, or career fair, you’re forced to believe it’s true. As we grow and age, we meet thousands of people, some in passing, some who become lifelong friends, some simple acquaintances. We rarely, if ever, know everything about the people in our lives, and we certainly don’t know all of the friends and acquaintances of our friends and acquaintances!
All of this came to light for me, more clearly than ever before, in the past week. Many of you already know of my issues with my last neurologist, and if you don’t, please read about it here. I was determined to get an answer, despite the issues I have had with past doctors dismissing me and passing me off to their colleagues, but this last episode really had me questioning what my future had in store for me, especially the next 4 months I was being told I had to wait to see the next neurologist. I was genuinely concerned if I was going to make it until February, and even if I did, how much further might whatever-the-hell-it-is-I-have progressed. Would I be able to speak at all? How about walking, even with a gait belt and people holding me up? The questions I started asking myself had no real answers, but my mind was coming to it’s own conclusions, and the majority of them were not good. I was determined to remain positive, and I believe I have been able to do that, but when your mind is constantly focusing on so many potential negatives, staying positive becomes more and more difficult.
And then it happened. My wife mentioned that some friends of ours, people I see every week, knew a neurosurgeon. They were friends with him, actually. They had asked if they could reach out to him regarding my situation, and eventually did just that. One evening, my wife showed me his online profile, and my mind was blown…
The doctor who is friends with friends of ours is not just a neurosurgeon. He is a Neurosurgeon at the top of his game. His list of accomplishments is extensive, and includes a long list of “Firsts” in the neurosciences. This person, a ground-breaking neurosurgeon, is friends with one of my friends.
Friday night, at a tailgate for my (step) son’s football game, my phone rang. When I answered, it was HIM. I was stunned. It was 6 PM on a Friday, I was struggling to stand up in a crowded bar with my walker, and I was stuck. Luckily, my wife was close, and I was able to hand the call off to her. She took the call outside, and when she came in, she looked like she had been crying, and after talking to her, she had been. While the call was brief, it was very informative. He let her know there were several doctors he thought could help, and he would have his nurse and assistant get in touch, with every intention of getting me in to see someone in the next 2 weeks! It made my wife cry, and if we hadn’t been in public, it would have made me cry too. What a relief!
The next day, Saturday, I received an email from this doctor, addressed to his assistant, another neurologist, and myself. He requested we (my wife and I) email a list of doctors, hospital visits, and locations, so he could gather records and labs to get things moving. I emailed the information that evening, and received a response on Sunday, setting up a call this morning.
Now, I had an incredibly busy weekend, for me at least, so I slept well last night. I woke up, made my way to the bathroom, and my phone rang as I “walked” back into the bedroom. I scrambled to grab it and dropped it, ending the call. I listened to the voicemail and called right back, but had to leave a message on the voicemail. I slowly made my way downstairs, and as soon as I settled on to my couch for my morning coffee, my phone beeped, alerting me that my battery was low. Back to the walker, back up the stairs, down the hall, and back into my bedroom I went, and my phone beeped again, this time letting me know that I had missed a call and had another voicemail. I returned the call, and this time I finally got through.
After a short conversation, I had an appointment….For THIS THURSDAY!
I’m seeing another neurologist, this one at the recommendation of an absolutely amazing man and doctor, in a few days. All of this thanks to a friend, reaching out to their friend, and asking for some help. It’s amazing, and a valuable lesson for all of us. As a society, we all know people that know people that could possibly help us one day. It’s amazing, and if we pay attention to what’s happening around us once in a while, we can all probably offer someone in need a helping hand in some fashion. Maybe it can’t or won’t help, but maybe it will. In my case, I feel like this was a HUGE step in my diagnosis, and maybe (hopefully), my recovery. I told myself not to get my hopes too high, but the appointment was scheduled this morning, and my hopes have already gotten too high. I am blessed, and I am thankful. To the person who reached out and started all of this, thank you. I know I cannot express how much thanks I
want need to express, so I hope thank you is enough for now. It’s all I have. Thank you.