Tests done – check, consultation with primary doctor – check, find surgeon – screeching brakes!!!
Sometimes I really question my decision making skills. In 2014 I hired two different “publicists.” The first one easily revealed what a mistake I had made .. right off the bat and while somewhat expensive, it obviously wasn’t expensive enough because I turned around 5 months later and made another very poor decision. Anytime someone is rude to you, run! Disrepectful? Run! Aren’t familiar with what you do and don’t really make an effort to learn? RUN! Doesn’t communicate and then gets offended when you try to explain why you are upset? RUN!! Try to make you feel small, ignorant, inconsequential, stupid and that NOTHING you say has importance? RUN!! Make you pay them for all that “guff!” Don’t only run but RUN!!! Holy moly, that’s also great relationship advice!!
I knew within the first 2 conversations I was making a mistake but I wanted so badly to give myself the best shot possible. Granted .. starting that a little late in the game but I also wanted to capitalize on my IMC 2014 Best Female Jazz Artist Award. I told this publicist that it was my last “big push effort” because of finances. She described it my “last ditch effort.” Apparently .. more than a few publicists think much more highly of themselves than they do their clients and view them ONLY as a paycheck. Expensive lesson .. since my publicity budget was wiped out by two inept publicists .. I sure hope it was expensive enough to teach me!!
So, you’re asking yourself what the hell bad publicists have to do with finding a good surgeon .. GREAT question! The same rules that apply for hiring a publicist apply to a surgeon: a) get a number of references; b) get referrals from your doctor (not just the ones they work with but who they would send their much loved grandma to); c) research their background, look for complaints and actions against them; d) make sure that they KNOW the condition they are treating and that they have done a particular procedure many times (you don’t want to be the first or second time they’ve tried it); e) when they talk to you make sure they talk TO and WITH you!
I was lucky. In fact, I got a referral from my doctor. I had also found another one on my own. I got down to business .. nothing so inane as hiring a publicist .. this is someone who is going to be removing a tumor from my throat. I’m not dismissing the TUMOR but I’ve been down that road before. This is my THROAT and what lives in my throat? The instrument that helps me release my heart and share it .. MY VOICE!
After all the homework, I looked harder at my pros/cons list for each doctor more intently than Santa checks the naughty/nice list and I scheduled an appointment with the one I thought was the best fit. It started out well at the reception desk .. pleasant, nice, smiling, helpful. Then wellness continued during my meeting with the PA .. she didn’t even blink when I broke down in tears and explained to her that giving in to the surgery meant potentially giving up my voice. And the wellness kept rolling even after the doctor walked in. I’m as comfortable as I can be with him doing the surgery and I bet he won’t be surprised at all when they roll me into the operating room next week and he sees what I’ve written across my forehead: DON’T FORGET .. I’M A SINGER!!! Even without that, I bet he’d remember (because I repeated it every 5 minutes in the appointment!!).
Pre-op stuff got done on Thursday. Starting to get more physically real. It’s been all cerebrally and emotionally real but hospital smells have an interesting way of bringing things into focus, you know? Got a feeling the real work is going to begin the afternoon of July 2nd. I’ll be out of the operating room by then and beginning to wake up and waiting for the doctor to come in and brush by the information about the tumor and get to the important stuff. Did the recurrent laryngeal nerve make it through the surgery without becoming paralysed? How about the vocal cords? Granted that won’t really tell me whether my voice survived the surgery BUT it will be a start!!
And, regardless the outcome, I made the best decision I could as it pertains to the man whose hands hold the scalpel and that has to be enough!!