His name is called. Forms in hand, and insurance card being ' worked on' at the front desk, he walks down a hall filled with certificates and awards displayed prominently. The oncologist introduces himself and shakes Sam's hand with both hands clasping his like a Politician. It makes Sam uncomfortable. He remembers flipping ahead in his book and reading about this. Sam decides to use his new knowledge to find out if this specialist is 'going to go to bat for him' with his cancer.
The conversation goes well, and is animated, but Sam is basically 'going along' with the oncologists' guiding of the new patient interview. He is waiting for a chance to speak up. Behind the big desk, the physician steeples his hands, a sign of confidence. His legs are stretched out, his chin is up and he looks Sam in the eye. As a matter of course, the doctor asks the questions about alternative medicine and Sam's views on that. Sam would like to know more, and seeks information from this expert on cancer. Sam leans forward, raises his eyes in a gravity defying way that says, non verbally, 'I want to know more!' The doctor's lips disappear in disapproval. A micro gesture of a sneer crosses his face. He recovers and goes into a spiel about evidence based results, which is polite, but Sam sees the hands disappear under the table as eyebrows lower and eye blocking moves begin as he talks.
Through powerful non verbal communication, Sam discovers that the oncologist's plan for his care is 'my way or the highway'. Although he has full confidence in his ability to have excellent care with this man, his heart isn't 'into' giving control of his future to this particular oncologist. He goes home and tells his wife about it. They agree to give the oncologist the family member suggesting a different approach a try.
He books an appointment. He is surprised that instead of the doctor's desk, the meeting takes place in a room with a small desk at the window and a round table with two chairs in the middle. It is not fancy. This doctor, a woman, is intently watching Sam as he speaks. Sam talks so much he rambles, he catches himself, and she just sits there with hands on the table, interlaced, softly nodding her head as he talks, Her questions are the same as the ones in the last office, but they are to the point and not rushed. After a long pause, she asks, 'Sam? In your heart of hearts, what is it that you want to do?'
In a flash of understanding, he realizes she 'gets it', his nightmare of having to be on the table getting what he has helped others do in surgery throughout his entire career, which might be coming to an end from this cancer. Tears flow, and he is wracked with big sobs. She watches him. She does not move. As the emotions start to get less intense, she offers him a box of tissues and gently asks, 'would you like to have a cup of tea?'. He nods yes. She picks up an electric kettle from a cupboard, plugs it in and pours him a cup of tea. In a mug. It settles his nerves. 'I want to have the surgery as soon as possible. I am not ready to discuss my options after that now. When I am recovered I would like to talk to you about my options. I am open to whatever it takes, but I want to be the most functional I can be through it. I might want to try some things that are non-conventional. Before I do I will openly discuss them with you. Are you okay with that?' She gives him a definite yes. Not once did her gestures and her body language 'disconnect' with what she was saying. He had googled her--her credentials were on par with the Doc he had seen first. She also had on her website testimonials from satisfied patients. She was rated highly on Angie's list, Yelp, and there were no major complaints about her care online. It is a go, he thinks. He can't wait to come home and share with his wife.
He picks up the phone to the surgeon, makes the appointment, and mentally prepares himself for surgery. On the drive home he wonders if he should send a letter to Joe Navarro thanking him for saving his life in helping him find a good match in his oncologist by applying what he learned from his book.
Book: What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent s Guide to Speed-Reading People