I recently consulted a specialist at a major medical center in New York, and a few days later, here came a questionnaire in the mail. "How much time did I spend in the waiting area?" it asked. How long was I kept waiting in the examining room? How close to my appointment time did the doctor see me?
The one thing it didn't ask was whether I cared.
There's no mystery about ...
"You have no husband?" asked an oncologist at an Ivy League cancer center, his voice full of concern.
"No," I replied.
"No sisters or brothers?"
"Your parents -- are they living?"
When I mentioned friends and extended family, he talked right over me. Without a nuclear family, he seemed to think, I had no one.
I'd been diagnosed with stage four gallbladder cancer, usually fatal within months. The surgeon who'd removed three-quarters of ...