Ocean Drive: Follow-Up with Dr. B

A nice R ‘N B tune from late 1995,
Nice beats, smooth guitar, even a trumpet solo, this one’s a favorite of mine,
Was expecting good news from the doc around this time,
Here’s where I’ll be rewarded for the hard grind.


My next meeting with Dr. B was scheduled for the third day of October. I continued to go from strength to strength leading up to the date, rebuilding my broken body through simple strength exercises and light cardio in addition to eating healthily and taking my medication. Day in and day out it was eat, sleep, train, take meds and repeat, still running on that recovering patient treadmill, although now I had recovered sufficiently enough to work out and go for walks and short drives so it wasn’t quite as exasperating anymore. I wasn’t shifting gears just yet, though, tempting as it was. I needed to get the green light from Dr. B first before I could return to my normal routine, albeit a less intense version of it.
But I did go on my first road trip in months with the family a few days prior to the appointment to a Japanese-themed botanical garden located a few hours away from home. The sun shone and the winter air was slowly dissipating, allowing for the perfect day to stroll among plants, trees, gardens and a sprawling pond smack bang in the middle of the place although some trees hadn’t yet recovered sufficiently enough from winter and carried some bare branches as a result. It was the first time in months that I had been away from home for anything other than a trip to the doctor or hospital and I saw it as another victory over ulcerative colitis.

I felt calmer and more at ease a few days later as I sat in the waiting room of Dr. B’s clinic with my parents. It was late afternoon and the sun was setting outside as the chilly spring air picked up. We were expecting positive news and were also curious to find out if it would be possible to reduce my dosage as my health had improved significantly. While I had grudgingly acclimatized to life as a chronic disease sufferer I was hopeful (and remain so to this day) that this fucking disease would eventually leave me alone forever and that I wouldn’t have to put these drugs into my system anymore. The idea of being dependent on medication in order to function properly never did sit well with me. I preferred to be healthy as a horse and free as a bird and I missed the feeling of going out with friends and traveling overseas without having to worry about lugging around a bag of medication with me.

Dr. B called us into his office after fifteen minutes of waiting. It had been two-odd months since our previous meeting and during that time I had successfully weaned myself off of the Prednizone tablets, raised my haemoglobin levels back to a healthy level and taking three Imuran tablets and four Mezavant tablets a day, the full dosage for both. My parents and I were chomping at the bit to shock the hell out of Dr. B with my progress and as we walked into his office the look on Dr. B’s face said it all. He smiled as my parents and I took our seats, visibly impressed that the walking, talking, pale-faced cadaver that he had become acquainted with a few months ago was gone, replaced by a healthier man with more color on his features and an extra spring in his step. The massive window in his office gave us a picturesque view of the sun setting over the suburbs below, painting the landscape a light shade of red-orange. It was a lovely view, the perfect setting for a very positive meeting.
“So how are you feeling today?” he asked.
“A lot better, Doctor, thanks.”
“Well, you look a lot better than the last time we met, that’s for sure.”
If I had been an anime character my surroundings right then and there would have faded into a happy, multi-colored background dotted with glittering stars as the camera panned to a low-angle shot of me to make me seem seven-feet tall as I hopped off my seat, pirouetted several times and ended the impromptu dance routine with a thumbs up while shouting ‘YEEESSSS!!!!’ at the top of my lungs as the kanji that translated my victory yell splattered across the screen for emphasis. That was music to my ears.
Dr. B gave me a brief moment to take in the good news before switching back to business mode.
“Well, let’s get to it…..

And with that began a discussion about my treatment and he also complimented me on how far I’ve come. That I had managed to bounce back from severe pancolitis and returned to healthy haemoglobin levels rather quickly were, according to him, quite impressive. He credited my good health prior to the disease as a possible reason for my speedy recovery in addition to my resilience but also added that it is still a mystery as to how a fit and healthy human being could have possibly come down with the disease in the first place. He also credited my parents for helping me in terms of diet and monitoring my dosages. It was certainly a team effort, not just a one-man show, to get me back on track.
The plan now was to keep me on my current dosages for the time being before our next meeting. Man, you would have needed a steel pipe to remove that smile from my face and my dad was practically jumping off of his seat.
“You should be proud, mate,” Dr. B said with a smile.
“I am, Doc.”

You bet I’m proud. We slayed the beast within, how could I not be?

“As long as you keep taking your medication, continue to keep your stress levels down and stay healthy in general, which seems second-nature to you, I think we can keep this thing in remission for good.”
“He takes his medication religiously,” added my father.
“Good,” smiled Dr. B, “that is good to know. Keep up the current dosage for now.”
Dr. B then added a word of caution, perhaps as a means of making sure that I stayed on the right path and wouldn’t become foolish with overconfidence, the bane of many a recovering patient.
“Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that, just because you are on the road to recovery, you can suddenly reduce your dosage or stop taking your medication completely,” he warned, a tone of resignation in his voice that suggested he had dealt with patients in the past that had made such a stupid mistake, “those same people are the ones that end up in the emergency room requiring surgery to remove their bowels. Stopping treatment at the wrong time will result in the disease coming back – with a vengeance!

‘With a vengeance.’ Wow, that sounds pretty fucking serious.

I nodded my head vigorously. There was no way in hell I was going to go through that shit all over again, pun intended, and I certainly didn’t fancy the idea of having my bowels cut out of me and having to live with a bag hanging out of my abdomen to shit in.
Yeah, HELL NO!!! Fuck that shit! Pun not intended.
“I’ll be good, Sir,” I responded, “let’s keep this thing dead and buried.”
Ever the master at keeping our meetings light-hearted and tension-free, Dr. B then changed the subject.
“Have you returned to your normal life yet?”
“Not yet, no. I wanted to check with you first.”
“I see.”
A grin then formed on his features. This had to be good news.
“I think you’re good now,” he replied happily, “but please continue to take it easy in the meantime.”
The good vibes surged through my system once more and I had to fight the urge to stand up and perform that anime style victory dance-plus-pose. This was one of the happiest days of my life and it had to be a good day for Dr. B, too. Right from the start he seemed to make it his personal mission to restore me back to good health and get me back into my normal life, including the martial arts training, and on both counts he succeeded with flying colors. Yes, he had done it again!
“Thank you for the good news, Doc.”
“Keep up the good work, mate.”
He then turned his attention over to my parents, who had helped to make all of this possible.
“You both did well to help him get to this point.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” my mother answered proudly.”

Dr. B then turned back to his computer and set about booking our next appointment, which he did so for the following January. He also left me with some exciting parting words.
“So like I said, just keep up your current dosage. Come January, let’s see if we can take the first step towards weaning you off at least one of your meds.”

Oh hell yes! One big step back to total normalcy!

I nodded my head enthusiastically. “Yes, doc. I’m glad to hear that.”
“Until then, take care and stay healthy.”
With that, my parents and I shook hands with Dr. B before departing his clinic. Peak hour traffic had begun during the drive home and my parents and I found ourselves stuck in slow-moving traffic, no doubt surrounded by stressed-out afternoon commuters coming off of another exhausting day at work, but I didn’t care as my mind was elsewhere. I lapped up the good vibes from that positive meeting with Dr. B and as the family vehicle continued to crawl along the traffic under the darkening sky as night fell, all was good in the world. It had been a long, hard climb to get to this point and as I looked up at the road ahead, the mountain’s peak had become visible through the clouds and mist.

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