He’s known for being so ornery. He’s a victim of COPD. Since he’s hard of hearing, he tends to be loud and required us to be loud too. When he calls in during a busy time, sure enough whoever answer the phone must yell -he’s impatient and does not like to be put on hold.

[Five phone lines blinking at the same time]
“XYZ Clinic, could you hold for a moment?”
“This is Mr. […], get me Dr. X.”
“Sir, could you hold for a moment, please?”
“CAN YOU HOLD, PLEASE?” [everybody in the waiting room’s looking at me]
“I need to talk to Dr. X. The insurance won’t pay for this damn medicine.”
“Well, can I have the nurse call you back?” [at this point, I don’t bother to put him on hold anymore]
“Is Dr. X not working today?”
“He’s with patients right now.”
“Well I’m his patient too. Let me talk to his nurse, then.”
“She just took a patient back to a room. She will…”
“Hah. They’re always busy. OK, have them call me at home soon, will ya?”

When he’s present in the office, we could hear him from a mile away. He’ll stop at the front check-in to grab a wheel chair and let his wife checking in with the Central Registration for him. Just like a thunder, his ‘HELLO! I’M HERE’ greet would wake us up immediately. He’d put his compact oxygen tank with a big thunk! on to our desk and ask, “HI! YOU GOT ME?”

He’s a frequent flyer. Meaning he’s been a patient of ours for ages. But in the last couple of month, he’s getting paler and paler. Then he’s on oxygen tank. Then he lost a lot of weight. Then he got a nursing care. It’s getting harder to understand him talk because his breathing’s not flowing very well. I finally understood his frustration and crankiness because of his breathing. He got all worked up and his respiratory went out of whack and that’s why he’s so ornery.

From time to time, when he’s in a better mood, he’d talk to us more and even apologize for his crankiness. He’d say that us girls been so nice to him and that when he’s cranky, it’s not to us but more because of some other matters. He’d joke around and tell stories about ‘the old time’.

pics by dA month ago, he was hospitalized. The complications from his illness which is the fourth leading cause of death in America (according to the American Lung Association) was probably too much for him. Yet he’s still being his old grumpy self. When Dr. X visited him in the hospital, he didn’t seem very ill. But he spoke about being ‘ready’. He’s giving up. Few days later, he faxed a DNR statement. DNR stands for ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ -a medical order to provide no resuscitation to individuals for whom resuscitation is not warranted. Resuscitation itself means medical procedure which seeks to restore cardiac and/or respiratory function to individuals who have sustained a cardiac and/or respiratory arrest. In short, he did not want any help when he’s dying. He’s ready to go. Lots of us were doubting that he’ll die soon.

This morning, Dr X’s nurse told us that he died last night. Guess we’re wrong.

Rest in peace, Mr. M