My beloved dialysis nurse, Diane King, has been trying to reach me all week. We've been playing telephone tag, deluxe edition. I naturally assumed she was calling to congratulate me on my recent lab results. My potassium levels were deemed "Very Good," and I received the coveted gold star for my outstanding phosphorus report!
If only that was the news Diane had called to discuss.
"I just wanted to let you know that I'm leaving DaVita," she announced, in her ever-cheerful lilt.
Clearly I was not hearing the words I was hearing. My own personal AWWOE (Angel Who Walks On Earth), the woman who literally took me by the hand and taught me how to dialyze myself, who came to my home to prepare me for the process – who has drawn my blood and analyzed my urine, for goodness sakes (and there aren't many ways you can get more personal than that!) – my lifesaver woman is announcing that she's leaving me – uh, leaving town?
Say it ain't so, Lady Di!
Her husband, a minister, is semi-retired, which allows the couple some geographic flexibility. Diane has found a job with a home Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) firm in Modesto, Calif., where she can be nearer to their son, who's also a minister, and her baby granddaughter. Awwww. How can anybody be upset about that?
Suddenly (so as to date myself), my mind cues up the lyrics of To Sir, With Love. "A friend who taught me right from wrong, and weak from strong/That's a lot to learn....." Although I guess in this version, I would be playing the part of handsome young Sidney Poitier and Diane would be warbling as Lulu. She's a lulu, all right.
Diane tells me her position as my primary dialysis nurse will be taken by some German woman. I tell her I will try to keep an open mind and not be frightened.
"The hardest thing is going to be leaving all my patients," Diane says.
No, Diane. The hardest thing will be us patients going on without you. Godspeed.