Friday, March 24, 2023 Mar 24, 2023
67° F Dallas, TX

The Summer My Body Fell Apart

I spent a lot of my summer at the Baylor Surgicare outpatient center. It’s my regular spot, in some ways. And so I was thrilled to fill out this survey about my time there.
By Eric Celeste | |Illustration by Michael Byers
Eric Celeste tumor
Michael Byers

Email subject: Please provide feedback on your recent experience with Baylor Scott & White Health

[clicks Start Survey button]

Please describe which provider/procedure this survey references. Hard to say. My calendar suggests Friday was the (lucky!) 13th time I’ve been to Baylor Scott & White Surgicare this summer. You know how the British call their favorite bar “my local”? You’re my local now! Ha ha. How is Pam, btw?

Please comment on your experience related to this care. Words that come to mind for each major event you handled, in order: tendrils of blood shooting into my cornea for no reason: terrifying; falling down my back porch steps and breaking my pinkie: my bad; finding that enchondroma tumor in said pinkie: high-fives all around; the doc putting me on blood pressure and cholesterol meds because they were tired of assuming the sphygmomanometer was broken: kinda embarrassing; my promise to the nurse to adopt a strict no alcohol, no red meat diet: worthless; surgery to remove the finger tumor: pain hurts; the colonoscopy that resulted from testing positive with the Cologuard test you ordered: [Boogie Nights quote] “Oh, do you think so, doctor?”

Was the desk staff in the registration area courteous? Sarah never laughed at my jokes, and I’m pretty funny. Worse, she noted that “a man my age” shouldn’t have “this many physical problems in three months.” Hey, 54 is a tough year, OK? Also, she side-eyed me super hard when I answered, “235 pounds, but I carry it well.”

How well did the nurse/assistant listen to your needs? They listened, but they didn’t hear. For each surgery, I told them that we really need to find better patient attire than the open-back surgical robe. Then they’d be all, “It literally works for everyone else.” Classic whataboutism. Then they’d yell at me because I couldn’t tie it correctly, and my Italian butt and my Irish twig-n-berries were flying all around that very cold surgery center. Just because I’m 225 (carry it well) doesn’t mean I need to wear a front-half-only muumuu. 

Did the care provider(s) adequately explain your problem or condition? Too adequately! “Mr. Celeste, that’s the biggest tumor I’ve ever seen in a finger. Were you just going to ignore the warning signs?” Obviously. “Mr. Celeste, we’ll get to your blood-filled vision and your broken finger and your precancerous bottom, but first we need to deal with that jackhammer heart rate and tub-thumping pulse.” You forgot my criminal good looks, Doc. “We couldn’t get all of the fourth polyp, because you’re a unique mess down there.” C’mon, people. Lie to me once or twice.

What could we do to improve your overall experience? If you’re really going to be my local for the foreseeable future—as a 215-pound man struggling with his health, it looks like that’s a given—I think a few pub-inspired changes are called for: a lost and found, for when I leave before the anesthesia has fully worn off and forget my debit card; hard lemonade for that after-surgery pick-me-up; a proper jukebox, one with Van Halen and Van Hagar; and maybe add some dimmers on those lights. Bit harsh, mate.

What is the likelihood of your recommending this care provider to others? Very high. I loved all my care providers, even the stone-faced colonoscopist who didn’t flinch when I hit him with all the best lines from Fletch. Tell him if he wants a good tip, he needs to start humoring me. It’s what makes a good local.