If you have to go to a particular doctor's office or clinic quite often, like we do, you get to know and appreciate the staff. We know that everyone in the transplant clinic works very hard, and we really appreciate them all. They may be medical professionals with a heap of book-learning, as I like to say, but they still like to enjoy themselves and have fun at work. This is the kind of place and group of people where all kinds of hilarity can happen. Case in point: Trent had a transplant in 2005, just a couple of months before Hurricane Katrina struck. On our first visit after the hurricane, Laurie, one of the social workers on staff, came up to us to say hi. She took one look at me, whose first name had turned into a bad word, and just burst into laughter. "Yes, Laurie, now we know that MY kidneys work..." She had to walk away. Seven years later, she still loves telling that story.
When we arrived at a post-transplant clinic visit about a week after Trent's most recent transplant surgery, we saw a new face at the check-in desk. There was a very kind-looking lady with a very sweet smile. And a name tag on her workstation that read "Ken." We all got a good laugh at it, and she proved to have a great sense of humor. In fact, she even let me get away with coming back out to the desk, seeing her getting ready to go somewhere, and saying, "Don't get up now, Ken, I need to make an appointment for Trent!" Funny side note: Marie was "resting her eyes" in the waiting room, but when we came out of the appointment she was sitting there totally alert. "Why aren't you napping?" I asked. "Well I was until you came out here and said get up now!" The day was a treasure trove of laughs, what can I say?
About a week later, we came back for yet another visit and saw a gentleman who also had a very happy smile and a kind face. And a name tag that said "Marlene." To make matters even more fun, when given gentle ribbing about it, he proved to have a marvelous sense of humor as well. How often can you get away with saying, "So, Marlene, I see you aren't a Ken today," and survive with both body and spirit intact? I have come to adore these two incognito travelers as much as I do all of the other clinic staff. And we have gotten to the point where I simply smile and remove the name plate for them. If there is ever a day when I am unable to give them some loving teasing about it all, they will probably ask if an extra exam room is needed for me as well!
Imagine our surprise today when we went to a different clinic on a different floor, and there at the check-in desk was Ken! I mean the real one. We aren't sure whether we are famous or infamous, though. When someone sees you coming, bursts out laughing, and calls you by name, what does it mean? Since he has always treated us with the utmost courtesy, I am going to say that he appreciates an audience that comes with its own material. But who needs to come with their own material when there is so much fun waiting there to be found?