Good Luck

Personal Statement

As her last bit of advice for me during my first day “running” an ambulatory surgery clinic, Vanessa said, “I like to say ‘Good luck’ to the patient before handing over a copy of the consent form and directing them to pre-admission testing.” I balked at this. Luck? These were men about to undergo a laparoscopic prostatectomy, not about to play in a soccer game.

That day I clumsily said, “Good luck with everything,” to a middle-aged patient, almost as an afterthought while the man collected his paperwork and oriented himself toward Pre-surgical Testing. He turned around, looked me in the eyes and said, “I really appreciate that.” Of course I had not done much, and that was the first and most likely last time our paths would cross. Yet he had undoubtedly become well-versed with people like me, the hospital, its procedures, and the terminology – staff ushering him in and out of exam rooms, phlebotomists drawing blood for another PSA test, the ultrasound-guided transrectal needle biopsy, the probe-assisted MRI. “Radiology.” “Pathology.” “Diagnosis.” “Malignancy.” And then he stood before me, facing major surgery and its accompanying anxiety. After that, he would have a whole new set of concerns: catheters, recovery, erectile...

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