I often refer to TEAM RACHAEL! when I talk about my congenital heart defect (henceforth referred to as CHD.), but who is TEAM RACHAEL! and what makes them so special to me?
First of all, there are lots of members on TEAM RACHAEL!, as TR! is comprised of just about every reoccurring medical staffer in my life, but I am focusing on the main five - or Fab Five as we call them around these parts. I can't give you their names because that'd be like violating some laws and shit and then who'd feed my cats and make sure my boyfriend, Mr. J, took out the recycling every Sunday? So we'll just use initials, OK?
Dr. L - I guess, technically speaking, she isn't a doctor but a NP (nurse practitioner) but I consider her at the head of TR!, my go-to gal Friday for all of my ails, worries and woes. She was a rock star in her previous life and the medical field was her "fallback" career. Well, I'm glad she fell back on it (though I'd love to hear her wail out some tunes some time) because frankly, I don't know what the hell I'd do without her. She keeps it real and I can always be upfront & honest and not feel like my trust will ever be broken. We even have our own secret handshake and shit. I bet you're jealous and want a Dr. L of your very own, right? Totally.
Dr. A - A fairly recent addition to TR!, but he definitely rounded us out as my newly appointed cardiologist and added some much needed dark comedy to the mix. Oh, I love a doctor with a wicked sense of humor and a paternal streak. It makes an interesting combination when Mr. J comes to my appointments. Muwahaha. Anyway, Dr. A is on TOP of his game - he never BS-es me, never gives me a runaround and never leaves me in the dark about my health. Dr. A always encourages me to go the extra mile and he LISTENS when I give feedback or voice a concern. A big softie on the inside, Dr. A has also traveled to developing countries to bestow his awesome powers of cardiology to needy people. Fuck yeah he's the best.
NP P - My other NP, P. is a sassy, no-nonsense lady who will crush you underneath her heels if you get in her way. Ha, only kidding (or am I?) P- is a great NP, and serves as a great example of intelligent, strong, witty women in the medical field. She knows her shit and she'll make sure I know it, too, because like Dr. A, she believes the patient (that's me) ought to have all the knowledge I can about what's going on with my whacked out gizzards. Like Doc L and A, she was foolish enough to give me her work email addy so when I'm having a 5:00am freak out that my new med is making me constipated (oh yeah, I went there) and I'm gonna DIE if my colon isn't immediately flushed, I know I can expect a timely, calm, and logical response.
Dr. S - I knew my electro-physiologist before he was appointed the position because I began volunteering for the organization he co-founded (with TR! member #5) a few months prior to him letting me know I needed a pacemaker - ON OUR FIRST MEETING. Way to endear me to you! So I got the pacemaker in and he's been managing my Bionic Womanliness ever since, making sure I can lift cats before they snoop themselves into trouble and not die from a paused heart in my sleep. THANKS, DOC. I OWE YOU. He puts a magnet to interrogate (read: aggravate) my pacemaker and in turn I try not to double over from the alternating speed and painfully slow rate my heart is forced to when he gives me a check up. He then prints out ALL OF THE INFORMATION MY BIONIC PACEMAKER HAS BEEN COLLECTING IN A VERY BOND-VILLAIN SPY LIKE FASHION. I hope my pacemaker didn't tell him about all of that Jameson & ginger ale I downed in Ireland.
RN L - Last but certainly never least, RN L assists Dr. S and is head honcho of the non-profit I volunteer for (so you know she be keeping tabs on me!). She's the sweetest, kindest person I've ever had on any of my medical teams ever. We see each other outside the capacity of TR! more often than at the clinic, but no matter where we run into each other she always has a smile and words of encouragement for me.
So these are the FAB FIVE members of TEAM RACHAEL! To you, my wonderful all-star team I say thanks so much for being there, supporting me, keeping me alive and putting up with my crap!