Why the Mayo Clinic is located in Rochester, MN I will never know. It’s out in the middle of nowhere and the Clinic is the city. Everything revolves around it. The buildings of the Clinic make up the skyline, hotels house the patients and their families, and there are underground tunnels that connect the hotels and businesses with the Clinic so that in the winter patients never have to go outside. Cab drivers are there to bring people from the tiny airport to the clinic. That’s it. They sling shot back and forth, back and forth all day long.
The people who live there are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Maybe it’s because they know if you’re not a townie you’re here to see someone at Mayo and if you’re here to see someone at Mayo there is something seriously wrong with you. The Clinic itself is absolutely beautiful. It is filled with natural light and the lines are all straight and clean. It’s all glass and marble. Art and sculpture line the walls. At lunch a piano player sits at the baby grand in the foyer and plays relaxing notes for those passing through to stressful appointments. Outside there are fountains and tons of green space with pristine landscaping. If we were in Oz this was the Emerald City.
My referral was to the ENT department of the Mayo Clinic. It is on the twelfth floor of the Clinic and has floor to ceiling windows that look out over the city. You can see the tree line in the distance. overstuffed arm chairs face the windows so you can sit and look outside while you wait. There are tables with puzzles, and workstation for patient education. Something that I LOVE about the Mayo clinic, especially my surgeons there, is the efficiency in which every aspect of care is accomplished. I have never waited longer than 15 minutes to see a doctor there which makes me extremely high maintenance when I have to go to the doctor at home in Kentucky. I find myself banging on glass partitions and sighing in exasperation like Scarlett O’Hara when I sit the standard hour to ninety minutes in a waiting room. At Mayo you are given an itinerary before you even arrive that has your schedule of appointments, what to expect at each one, how to get there, and a bar code at the bottom which is scanned to check you in. You are then issued a pager that goes off as soon as you get yourself settled. You meet a nurse at the designated “B” door and cruise down the hallway to your exam room. Once there you grab a magazine and begin to settle in only to have the article you are reading in Southern Living be interrupted by a resident who is coming in to do an initial assessment. In my case this resident is a congenial fellow from Florida with an easygoing demeanor, beautiful laugh, and even more beautiful blue eyes. We discussed my Tri season which I was still hoping to salvage and his marathon training. His name is Dr. J and I was smitten. I didn’t even mind when he threaded a fiber optic camera up my nose to take topical pictures of my tumor. After another one of his jokes at which I probably laughed too hard, Dr. J left the room to go confer with my surgeon and assured me that they would be back with a plan.
I pretended to read Ladies’ Home Journal while secretly daydreaming about Dr. J’s perfect smile and that one dimple on his left cheek but was awakened from my revelry when Dr. M entered the room. He is a stern and serious surgical fellow with short dark hair and dark eyes. He wore an expensive suit but you could tell he had not taken the time to have it tailored. I would find out later that this is because he is one of the most hardworking doctors I have ever encountered. Dr. M breezed into the room and sat across from me. We discussed my condition, scans, and various other details at length. After chatting with him for only a few minutes I could tell he has an ego. It usually irks me when I am talking to someone who seems to think they are more intelligent than I am but in this case I knew he was. I had researched him and his CV (which is 30 pages long, maybe more) before leaving for Mayo and he is one of the foremost ENT surgeons in the country. Normally I would have tried to cut him down to size but seeing as how I needed him to remove a tumor that was slowly crushing my skull I gave him a pass…just this once.
Did I mention that he, like Dr. J is also seriously good looking? Or maybe I find both of them so attractive because they have saved my life now three times. Being a feminist I hate to admit that but there’s just something about not dying, you find the men who made that possible for you somewhat irresistible.