"Mar?" Sounds like something you do to a coffee table, not to a patient.
Anyway, Diane and her husband, Bruce, were packing their lives into a U-Haul and preparing to move to California and an uncertain future. (She told me the State of California had not yet accepted her license to practice nursing, so she wasn't sure when she might begin working there.) Yet she still made the time to drive downtown and meet with one of her patients at his insistence just so he could officially say goodbye, which should tell you all you need to know about the kind of person Diane King is.
She arrived at the coffee shop on Main Street with Bruce in tow. What an adorable little couple they are! They're the same height, they've begun to resemble each other the way married couples do after years together – they even sound the same! Ah, love.
Because I have referred to her often as my AWWOE (Angel Who Walks On Earth), I thought it fitting to buy her the gift of a small ceramic angel, holding a small circular sign reading "Thank You," as a token of my deep appreciation. I know, it'll just take up space and gather dust on her new office desk, but it's far more practical for California than the full-length mink coat I wanted to buy her.
Angelic couple say hello to their little friend.
Then they said goodbye to their other one. We spent a delightful hour together. I'll never forget Diane. She taught me how to take care of myself and guided me through the emotional upheaval of dealing with this miserable disease. Then, with a lump in my throat and fear in my heart, I drove my Chevy at a snail's pace through the downtown streets to the DaVita office for my first examination by "Mar."
"Mar," as it turns out, is short for Marion. As you can see, she's quite attractive, and she retains the slightest hint of an accent from her native Germany. (Much to my disappointment, she does not wear a monocle.)
"I need to tell you right up front," I said upon our introduction, "I'm sure you're a very nice person and an experienced, talented nurse. But it may take me a while to warm up to you because I was very close to the person you're replacing and...I'm...just going to need some time."
(In my mind, the pipe organ is reaching a dramatic crescendo.)
Mar was extremely understanding, kind and efficient. However, she may not be Diane's permanent replacement: she explained that her home office is in Springfield, and she's filling in at the Decatur office until a new nurse can be hired. (If you're looking for a fulfilling career, there is an ongoing shortage of dialysis nurses. The job features great one-on-one contact and the opportunity to teach and make a real difference in the lives of patients as well as their families.)
So for the moment, at least, my new full-time kidney confidant has yet to be determined. Maybe it'll be Mar. I hope so. But maybe not. No one knows for certain.
Change, they say, is good. What do they know?