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An Ode to my Gastroenterologist

January 17, 2011

His hair is slicked back with enough grease to oil a car.  He wears tight fitting scrubs, has a perfectly shaven face, and carries the very subtle scent of cologne.  He clearly knows the perfect amount to dab on after all these years.  I hear Dr. Steiner flipping through my chart outside the exam room.  He spends a good ten minutes on it so that when he walks in, it is like seeing an old friend again for the first time.  He has my chart down to a T, and asks me all about my job, my new marriage, my plans for school that I casually mentioned at our last visit over a year ago.  Wow, the man’s chart notes are good.  I smile and play along while we chat, knowing full well that I am one of thousands of his patients that can only book an appointment with 8 months advanced notice.  But I don’t care.  This man is a miracle worker.

Until the last two years, it was hard to remember a time when I wasn’t sick.  I was broadsided in high school when my flu-like symptoms turned out to be nothing close to the flu, and then continued to wreak havoc on my body for the next five years.  Within a year, my on-again/off-again Crohn’s Disease diagnosis had sent me to more lab tests and out-patient procedures than I care to remember, and my symptoms had become second nature.  Feeling sick and getting sick gradually became all too familiar, and it didn’t take long before I succumbed to the idea that the rest of my life would be spent with my head in a toilet.  By the time I started college I was convinced my case was utterly hopeless and so took up my new lot in life as a “sick” person.

We shall consider it fate that I met Dr. Steiner when I did two years ago.  When I first met him I was both certain I couldn’t be cured and that slick-back himself would not be the one attempting to cure me.  I left his office the first time positive I would never see him again, but he made me promise to give a new medicinal regimen a try and see him again in a month.  The man himself had to book that appointment for me, and that effort was enough to convince me to give him (and the possibility of healing) another try.

A year and a half later, and I am a proud Dr. Steiner patient.  Our annual visits are pleasant and chatty, mostly because I have not been sick in the time I have been under his care.  I walk in (as I did today), allow him to schmooze me with his impressive ten minute review of my chart, and leave happily knowing that whatever this man has figured out about body – has worked.  Never mind the hair and the cologne and the cheesy jokes he attempts to make.  Never mind the perfect skin and v-neck scrubs that show a little too much of his upper body.  Never mind all that.  This man is my hero.

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