The “Art” of Medicine

We requested a GI consult yesterday. In plain English it means we requested that a gastroenterologist (gut doctor) come consult with my mother. I figured we could add another expert into the mix and see if we come up with yet another diagnosis.

He and I spoke by phone last night at 9:30 after he saw my mother. He is sticking with the “bowel obstruction” diagnosis despite the X-rays not confirming it. He said he was going to start my mom on clear liquids today and very slowly add softer foods to see how she fares.

He said he would put her on a ‘low residue’ diet, which basically means a low fiber diet. White rice, white pasta, a little milk, no hard cheeses, etc. All the things the news media tell us to avoid are exactly what she needs to eat. He was a little defensive and said (without my prompting), “Can I site any studies with scientific evidence that this is effective? No, but years of experience and anecdote tell us that it helps prevent future blockages. This is where the art of medicine comes in.”


The last two weeks haven’t demonstrated any art, but rather medical graffiti, with each doctor tagging a different message on the wall to mark their territory.


I had a welcome surprise visit from my friend JS last night, who dropped by the house on her way to her beach house. My friends have been an amazing support and for that I am deeply grateful.


My mom finally saw her regular oncologist this morning. He had been on vacation but was “johnny on the spot” in coming to see her first thing this morning. The good news: the CT scans my mom has had over the last two weeks show a continued decrease in tumors in her peritoneum as well as the ones that had taken up residence in her liver. She is resuming chemo tomorrow in the hospital, particularly since she is responding so well to it.

Update: oncologist tells my mom that this most recent crisis is totally unrelated to cancer.

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