The Heart Transplant Shrink And I

| April 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

There are subtle differences between the way Columbia Presbyterian and Tampa General qualify applicants before admitting them to the wait list.  Both processes were intense and very tiring. 

At Columbia Pres, one of the physicians that candidates meet is the staff psychiatrist.  The first time we met, my bride and my youngest daughter, Abbi, were with me.  It seemed the doctor was most concerned about my support network.  Once it was clear that the support was in place and that I was not contemplating suicide, we moved forward. 

During my time on the Columbia Pres wait list, I met with the psychiatrist twice.  In our first meeting, the doctor added some definition to my very loose understanding of the wait list process. The second time we met, I was considering relocating to a different facility and he neither encouraged or discouraged me. That was not really his role.

In Tampa, I first met Dr. KN, the TGH Transplant psychiatrist, during that qualification week.  We had a nice meeting and as she has always done since, the good doctor left me on an up-note.  Before the wait list and post op recovery, I had never visited with a psychiatrist.  My kids told me I was a psychiatrist’s worst nightmare.  They might be right!

Although the psychiatrist is not listed as a transplant team member,  Dr. KN was an integral part of my wait list and recovery experience.  I admit to being overwhelmed by the symptoms and surgeries that followed the transplant.  And, like everyone on the wait list, a certain amount of anxiety comes into the picture.  I found myself excited about meeting with Dr. KN because I could discuss things that children and wives don’t really want to hear.

Here was an objective, rational person who actually had answers.  I never left Dr. KN’s consults without feeling there was a path to wellness ahead and that the path made sense.

I feel a great deal of respect for Dr. KN, a voice of reason amidst the doubts.  I cannot imagine getting this far without her counsel.  This is one physician that wants to listen, wants to know what you are enduring. Dr. KN has a great deal of experience treating patients that have endured the same symptoms and suffered the emotional attachments.

Now, when I visit Tampa General, I always ask to see the good Doctor.  And, to be honest, Suzanne is delighted when the shrink and I get together.  Everything just gets better!

My experiences with Dr. KN lead me to recommend the use of a transplant psychiatrist during the waiting period and after.  You may resist at first, but these doctors are not so much helpful in your personal life as they are with the transplant experience.

I recently spent three-four weeks in hospitals in Albany, New York.  I must say the motivation to see Dr. KN kept inspiring me. If we could meet, we could get this mess untangled.

I feel blessed to have Dr. KN a part of my transplant team.

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