A Trip to Mayo Clinic

Today, I flew  to Minneapolis to meet a client to accompany him and his friend to Mayo Clinic.  For my client, it is a day of hope that someone will  finally be able to diagnosis his unknown neurological disorder.   Two and a half years ago, he woke and felt dizzy.  The dizziness continued and progressed to  incapacitating him with multiple other neurological symptoms such as uncontrolled eye movements, hearing loss and muscle weakness.  He is now wheelchair bound.    This is a  44 year old man who used to be a double black belt martial artist.  He can’t work or play with his ten year old son.

Over the years, he has seen several neurologists.  The first two, tried standard medications with no change and continued progression.  They gave up and told him he had a neurological disorder of unknown origin.  The most recent neurologist was more aggressive with treatments but hit the wall several months ago.  The treatments did stabilize some of the symptoms.

As an advocate, I knew it was time to pull out the stops.  I said to my client,”Would you go to Mayo Clinic if I can get you in?”  He said yes.  I knew it would be a struggle for him to fly but he was determined.  I had a contact at Mayo Clinic and asked for some guidance.  As I found out from the moment I asked, Mayo is in a class of its own when it comes to response time and patient centered thinking.   My contact requested a synopsis of  events and symptoms.  Within hours of sending it to him, I had a reply with two doctors names to contact by email.  I nervously sent the email with the synopsis.  Within FIVE MINUTES I had an answer accepting my client.   I could not believe it.  And since that day, every interaction with Mayo from the appointment secretary to the billing office to the concierge, I have felt like I was in a brave new world of medicine.  The kindness and thoughtfulness has overwhelmed me at times.  I am always ready to do the pushing but with Mayo if there is a problem, someone in the system immediately takes up the fight.

My client made it on the flight tired but grateful to be on this journey.  He amazes me with his strength and hope.  It isn’t easy for him.  We got him to the hotel which is directly across from Mayo.  Tomorrow he goes for his first appointment.  I will go with him.  He knows, nothing could change but he has to  believe in the possibility.

I will write tomorrow about the experience of a Mayo appointment.