Posted by: donrhymer | May 18, 2011

A Rebuttal From My Oncologist

My wife has thought for months that the reason my oncologist does in fact hate me is that she has read this blog and is not particularly pleased with the way she is depicted. Turns out she was right. At my last appointment she asked for a chance to defend herself so here now is her unedited rebuttal.

First of all, if you’re reading this blog and you’re not physically related to Rhymer I can only imagine that you are some sort of infirmed shut-in. My advice is that when meals-on-wheels comes by today, do yourself a favor and ask them to show you how to disconnect your computer.

 I’m sure the “tens” of people who check this blog regularly have read about his visits to my office. As you read them I think it’s important to keep in mind two things: I am a world renowned oncologist whose research is changing the way we fight cancer in this country and Rhymer writes bird poop jokes for a living.

 You see, I have a very serious job where every day life and death hangs in the balance. I have to stay sharp and focused at all times so you can imagine how hard it to handle this kind of pressure while some idiot is singing “Danke Schön” into your stethoscope. And I’m sorry, but I really just don’t find the guy funny.  He put his hand on my knee and did that “Name a State” thing. I named all fifty states; four continents, three oceans and two time zones and I still don’t get the joke.

 And let’s be honest, he is not an easy patient. He cries. A lot. And sometimes pees himself. Well, maybe he doesn’t pee himself and it’s just the tears pooling in his lap, but either way it makes it very uncomfortable to check the guy for a hernia. 

 And the way he talks about me in this blog it’s like I’m some robot with no life of my own. I have many outside interests and hobbies. I enjoy cooking, athletics and am an avid Civil War re-enactor in which I play the part of Ulysses S. Grant’s personal blacksmith – “Marty.”

 But I guess really, the love of my life is my pet ferret… Mr. Sniffles. Making his outfits and cobbling his shoes is a passion of mine and when we show up at Katusya for happy hour and half-priced apps… sister, do we turn heads.

 And no, I do not hate him. Well, maybe a little, but I assure you it does not affect his care. Though, to be honest, I can’t help having a little fun at his expense. For instance, I told him that hourly Sprite enemas would not only cure his cancer, but give him a full head of hair and fifteen extra miles per gallon on the highway and he went for it.  Face it, the boy is not bright.

 When my nurse told him keeping a positive upbeat attitude is essential to fighting this disease he went out in the waiting room and produced a bus and truck performance of “Annie.” His staging was static, but I gotta say the hemophiliac who played Daddy Warbucks was quite charismatic. A little pale… but that’s to be expected. Okay, I think I’ve said enough. I usually like to knock off early on Tuesdays and do a little bow hunting over by the dumpsters, so let’s wrap this up.

 All I’m asking you people to do is to take what the man says with a grain of salt. He’s mouthy, a crybaby and I suspect a frequent bed wetter… but he’s a scrapper. He’s a flyweight to be sure, but he can take a punch and I for one will be in his corner as long as it takes.


 Don’s Oncologist who doesn’t in fact hate him, but does find him massively annoying


Okay, glad she got that off her chest. Thanks for checking the blog.  More to come. And if anybody wants any Sprite, I apparently have fifteen cases in my garage I no longer need.



  1. Geez you are hysterical! I totally relate to all your descriptions of the interactions with the nurses, doctors and other patients. Still, your oncologist needs to get a sense of humor. Patients like you made my day!

    I prefer “directness” since I’m a realist as well. But there is a way to be direct without being nasty.

    Also the whole experience of hospital treatments, surgery, etc. is so surreal – hardly anyone’s typical day, so why can’t hospital employees understand the awkwardness that a patient feels?

    It is just not normal for a self sufficient businessman just having had prostate cancer surgery to have someone like me walk in and demand that he “urinate” into this jug by 8 pm or I will catheterize him. Patients lose all control.

    If you don’t come to the table by 8 am, you will NOT get your fruit cup!

    Got a chance to read through your entire blog from the beginning. What a nightmare – especially the cisplatin. F*ck Bob and let that be a warning to any other free-loaders who may have plans to take up residence in your neck.

    Give my love to Kate and I’ll be praying for you too George Landes!!

    Weren’t we all just eating in the D-Hall at JMU?

  2. I can’t what to read what the Insurance Company has to say about you!

  3. I think I wet myself too! I needed the humor, just wish it wasn’t at your expense.
    Love and prayers!


  4. Keep these rolling. Every once in a while I substitute reading your blog for the Sunday comics. Glad I did today.

  5. Hey Don. ‘Member me? I’ve been following (and loving) your blog since the very beginning. I write a column for CNN Health and am wondering whether I can feature you in one of my upcoming stories. I think you’d like the column. (You can google Lawyers Gone Zen by Enayati and see one of the essays, centered around Justice Breyer’s meditation practice.) Will you please let me know how to get in touch with you to tell you more about the story? You can email me at “”

    All my best.

  6. Who’s Don Rhymer?

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