Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I sit in an interesting intersection right now. I received three messages in a very short time from three doctors who treated my mother. One is a medical doctor. Another is a naturopathic doctor. And one is my Indian doctor. All are women. All well respected for their doctoring. I am simply printing their messages to us as we are grieving the death of our dear mother, and I print them here in the order I received them:

September 10 (the day of the Wake) an email from my Indian Doctor:

I am thinking of you today and the strength you will need to get through it. The prayer house fire is burning so I put some tobacco down for you to feel our love. I wish I could be there for you now, but Mark is in Sacramento so I am watching out for Dan. I know that if you close your eyes for a moment, you will feel the fire and gain the balance you need today. It is once in a great while that we actually have a mom's love more than once, and how lucky we have been. It's a crazy world we live in and your mom made the best that a little person could at the time. But now it's time to send her home where her heart is. Now, settle your heart, burn your root and breathe deep. I love you both. See you soon.

September 15 (posted after returning from her vacation on September 11) from our Naturopath a sympathy card and handwritten note:

Thank you for your kind message letting me know your Mom had passed away. I'm glad she was at home, and you and Marti were both there. Your mom was very lucky to have you as a daughter. You took wonderful loving care of her in these last few years.

September 16 (a form letter dated 9/8/09, the first workday, first appt. slot on the fourth day after my mom's death) from my mother's medical doctor whom I was considering having as my medical doctor for hospital privileges:

Dear (my name inserted)
According to our records, you failed to keep or cancel your appointment with our office on (tues. 9/8@8 am inserted).

Since you are a new patient to my practice, I had reserved additional time on my schedule to meet you and to work with you on your health issues. If you cannot keep your scheduled appointment, please call my office at least 24 hours in advance to cancel. Advanced notice of cancellaation allows us to give appointments to patients who otherwise could not be seen. if you do miss your next scheduled appointment, you will not be able to establish care with me and will be asked to find a new provider.

I appreciate your cooperation and look forward to seeing you at your next visit.

Sincerely, (signature)
New patient letter #1

I understand that sometimes form letters are sent by clinic staff other than the doctor, that these are probably even pre-signed. I understand that perhaps the doctor did not get my appointment cancellation message called into the after hours answering service explaining that my mother had died and that I would be busy making arrangements all through September so both our appointments must be cancelled. I understand that perhaps the police officer didn't inform the doctor as he said he would or that she doesn't read obituaries, or that her answering service did not give her critical information of why I was cancelling all these appointments. She may not have known. After all, the lab called days after my mother's death to ask me to call regarding her lab results, something the doctor had already told us at the appointment hours before my mama died. The doctor said on the basis of the results, we needed to hook up with hospice and she would be happy to help us. This is not a blog to blame a doctor or damn an institution even if seems to have some glitches with inter-departmental communication.

Like I said, I sit at an interesting intersection looking at systems of healthCARE in our country.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

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. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.