Oh, By the Way, Doc

Sherman Waltz had been through a lot since I saw him just before his 83rd birthday in late November to review the results of his CT scan. He had a large tumor in his liver. The cancer surgeons at our referral hospital sent him on to Boston because of the type of surgery he needed and because of his age and underlying medical conditions, dominated by severe emphysema. He is oxygen dependent even at rest. He pulled through the liver surgery without complications, but on the second postoperative day he fell and broke his hip.

Poor Sherman ended up in the Operating Room again, this time for a new hip. Again, the operation was a success. He was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital, where he caught pneumonia, which brought him to the brink of respiratory failure, but he pulled through again.

Finally back home, and with concerns that his new hip was still painful and stiff this long after the surgery, he came to see me. He wasn’t keen on going back to Boston to follow up on his hip surgery if I could help him get that taken care of closer to home. We agreed to have him se an orthopedic surgeon nearby.

We reviewed his medications, his level of functioning at home now, and the follow-up plans for his cancer. We also established that his pneumonia had cleared.

“You’re amazing,” I told him. “Three life threatening conditions in less than three months, and I couldn’t tell just looking at you!”

He smiled his typical shy smile as he adjusted the oxygen prongs in his nose and cautiously rose from the exam room chair. He turned toward the door, then back again towards me as he cleared his throat.

“Oh, By the way, Doc,” he said with his hand on the door handle. “Do you think I could try some Viagra?”

1 Response to “Oh, By the Way, Doc”

  1. 1 Steph February 28, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Love it! 😀

    I knew with a history like that, he had good reason to want to stay alive!

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Osler said “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis”. Duvefelt says “Listen to your patient, he is telling you what kind of doctor he needs you to be”.


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