Due to some strange circumstances in a raffle at today's Lungapalooza, I now have a series of opportunities coming up to break bread one-on-one in a non-clinical setting with most of the transplant doctors and surgeons at Duke. And one post-tx coordinator. And the only doc I'm not having a meal with is MINE, and I'm seeing him tomorrow morning. Bizarre.
So. What sort of questions would you ask, if you were going to these meals? They will probably be short meals, and obviously the staff can't reveal information about other specific patients, but… of all the things you wonder about before transplant, what questions fail to get asked because when you only have fifteen minutes with a doctor in the office, that's only time enough for the big questions.
I know I'm going to ask about the differences in dietary restrictions between centers as I've learned them so far. I'm going to ask why they think there are very young patients in the program here (one whom I've come to know is only 15 -- what the hell went wrong with his CF care that he needs a transplant already??) I'm going to ask if it's OK to push harder and farther than the nurses and rehab staff assume I can handle. I'm going to ask when their patients generally become cleared for air travel, international travel, etc.
I'm also going to ask why they chose medicine, why pulmonary, why transplant? This is a risk-fraught side of the profession and they lose a large percentage of their patients all too quickly. It must be emotionally taxing.
BTW, I met so many post-tx patients today. It was really inspiring to see all these smiling faces walking around with their kids or grandkids. But I also noted, off to the side, a memorial tent… I don't want to be in that memorial tent.