I have been seeing doctors more than the  average person since I was nine years old. I have had more number attached to me than you could imagine. Patient 102, Patient 202 so on. It has been one of the hardest things for me during this ordeal of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I remember years ago sitting in a surgeon’s office,

and him stating, Oh that is right you are Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I smiled and sarcastically said, ( in order to hide my hurt)

No I am Cookie, and I have AS.

Yeah that is right ,he chuckled, but it’s the same thing.

Actually it isn’t. I once told my grandson Hunter, you are not a blind boy, you are Hunter who happens to be blind, never allow your disability to define who you are.

Yesterday I had an appointment at the Baylor Medical Clinic in downtown Houston. They average about 1000 or more patients a day. Due to illness, personal issues and dental work I haven’t been there since November of 2010.

While driving up there I wondered if they would even recognize me. I cut my hair, something I haven’t done since I was seven years old. This was not something I wanted to do, but a necessity since I am unable to raise my arms, washing and combing my hair has become difficult. I also decided to color it auburn, which was by choice and I love it!  I mean how would they recognize me, as many people as they see daily. Patients are just numbers and diseases in a chart aren’t they?

I drove up to the valet parking and was greeted with the familiar smiles and where have you been?  I am doubtful it is me they remember, but my beautiful lime green Daytona hemi charger. I admit it was still special to me to be greeted that way.

I got on the elevator and there were a lot of people on there as always. The doors to the thirteen floor opened. Yes, floor thirteen, when I voiced my concern about this when the building was being built, Dr. Lidsky assured me it would be good luck, and he was right.

The doors opened and I heard a kind voice from the back of the elevator. Oh my god, Ms. Cookie, how are you, where have you been? I turned to see a young man standing there smiling as if seeing me had just made his day. I know he was able to see the confusion and loss of recgonizion on my face. He said , are you all ready for your remicade? I replied, I am going to see Dr. Rizvi now to get it started. He said, Good, it is wonderful to see you and I will wait for her orders. I apologized and said I am sorry I don’t recall your name. He said that is ok, it is Paul. I laughed and said . am I that bad you remember me? He laughed and said not at all , you are that important to remember.

This young man has only seen me twice and hasn’t seen me in eight months.

This special nurse was able to wipe out a life time of the medical field’s lack of compassion in one small act of kindness and showing me I am not just a number. I am Cookie and I have AS.