Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Regal Treatment

Yesterday was the day of full disclosure. Ostensibly this is the day you meet with the doctor and s/he tells you everything that could go wrong, then you sign a consent form saying you understand all that and you still want to go forward. Getting informed consent before doing risky medical procedures is legally required and morally a good idea, so without a signed consent form, the show can't go on. So if you want the procedure, after they tell you you're probably going to die a horrible death etc. (which, if you're informed you already read 17 times before coming to the meeting) you're going to sign the form anyway. Actually, I marvel at how the disclosure process is part disclosure and part sales job.

We met with Doctor Jeffrey Wolf and Bridget Mazzini, R.N. Bridget's title is Bone Marrow Transplant Coordinator. She, together with a staff who work with her, does all the appointments scheduling, insurance pre-approvals, and coordinating information flows with the local doctors. She also appears to organize the charts for Dr. Wolf and she is well informed about your chart etc. UCSF does about 130 of these procedures annually, so you can imagine how organized she'd have to be to be the coordinator.

In addition to the meeting to obtain our informed consent we had an appointment with a social worker. This was an important appointment because the social worker has the power to recommend or not recommend the procedure to the insurance company. We were told the social worker would want to meet some of Sue's support team, so Cindy, Maggie and Nurse Debbie took the day off to accompany us to San Francisco. Apparently by "bring your support team" they meant something like, your husband, because there really weren't any meeting rooms big enough for our entourage of five plus Dr. Wolf and Bridget. So we got to meet in the grande U.C. Regents conference room. Ooh la la. The Regal treatment.

Dr. Wolf took the disclosure process seriously. Sue asked Dr. Wolf some hard questions like "how long do I have to live?" and "what does it look like to die from multiple myeloma?" To his credit, Doctor Wolf did not shrink back from these questions. His answers were forthright and compassionate. And sobering. Our support team gave Dr. Wolf and Bridget their unanimous seal of approval. We believe Sue is in good hands.

It fell to me to ask all the really hard questions, like can our support group get a group prescription for medical marijuana. For a moment there I thought Dr. Wolf was going to write the prescription, but then I thought I heard him silently counting under his breath. For more on Dr. Wolf, see my July 15 post titled Blood Harvest and click the Dr. Wolf links. For more on medical marijuana, see my July 29 post: I Love The Flower Girl, and click the Haight-Ashbury link.

And regarding this support team. What's not to love? Here they are overlooking Mission Dolores and pontificating about the events of the morning. (click the picture for the full effect) And after the little oops where the concrete pole met her brand new Honda Pilot in the parking lot, the fiery redhead on the right showed amazing grace and forgiveness. For sure she's a saint. Or is she?


  1. The Pilot is a car. Transportation. You and Sue are dear friends, nearly family. Hmmmm...which would I choose to have more importance in my life? Yep, I'm choosing the two of you. I wouldn't have missed this day for anything.


  2. Well, George. It looks like you were accompanied to The City by a bevy of beauties yesterday.

    We thank you and Sue for the gift of keeping us informed. Your information and reflections are important to many of us. Thank you for continuing to put the time and energy into sharing with us.

    Cindy, you're always gracious, I wish I lived closer to you and Mark. Jenny loves you both dearly.

    Please let me know how I can help.

    (how many other ways to spell it? Syndee, Cyndie, Cyndee, Cindie, Sindee, Syndi, Syndie)

    oh, fine...anyways, Mom doesn't approve of anything but what she named me, so

    With Love,

  3. I know where that picture was taken, I used to sit there on breaks last fall and watch people trying to park in those tiny spots.