Doctor – Patient Relationship

drpatient

 

I was brought up to respect my elders and to listen to what they told me.  I always looked at doctors with awe and listened intently to anything they would tell me and to always follow their directions.  But lately, I am realizing that they too are just people, doing a job. Unfortunately, they are not fully invested in helping me get well.  I am just another appointment on their calendar to get through.  Heck, they don’t even show up on time for 90% of the appointments.

As I sat waiting in a doctor’s office yesterday afternoon, I had plenty of time to think.  The appointment was at 1:15 and I was seen by the doctor at 3:45.  The doctor is a genuinely nice man, highly respected in his field and his staff is exceedingly friendly (which is a big plus), but I still had to wait over 2 hours.

I will continue to see this doctor, as I value his advice and he is very respectful and courteous and doesn’t rush you during the exam (which is why you have to wait so long), but their are other doctors that I am currently seeing that I am seriously considering severing the relationship with.

I recently read an article about the relationship with your doctor and it stated “With a good doctor, you always leave the office feeling that they care about you.”  I can’t say that is true in most of my experiences.  I guess I’m not alone in feeling like this because the article also states that 2/3 of patients worldwide say that they are dissatisfied with their doctors, but many stick with them anyway because they assume all doctors will treat them the same way.  The other major reason we stick with a doctor is because we are worried about offending them or we are just so overwhelmed by the idea of finding someone new and starting all over again.

I am guilty of these 3 reasons of sticking with doctors, long after I know I should move on.  Recently, I had a test done at a lab and sent copies of the results to 2 different doctors (Dr. E and Dr. G).

Dr E. called me back within a week to discuss my results and a plan of action to help me improve the situation.  It involves starting a new medicine, with major possible side effects.  Dr. E spent a substantial amount of time on the phone with me answering my questions and then gave me her email address and said if I have any side effects or any additional concerns, just drop her an email.  I have always loved this doctor and her handling of my current situation is just another reason why I am glad I did change doctors, because the previous specialist I was seeing was so rude and dismissive to me, that I left the office in tears (that’s the first and last time I hope that happens).  But even after I left the office in tears, I told myself that maybe she’s having a bad day and I should give her another chance.  I did use her one more time and while she wasn’t as rude, I just didn’t like the experience in her office, even with her help.  They weren’t understanding of my needs and I promised myself I would look for another doctor.

Getting back to my current results, Dr. G’s office called me back two weeks after the test was done and the assistant requested that I make an appointment to see the doctor to discuss the results.  I explained my situation and asked if the doctor could get on the phone for 5 minutes and I could discuss the treatment plan my other doctor suggested.  The following day the assistant called me back and said I have to come in to see the doctor and that she wouldn’t be giving me advice over the phone.

Now which doctor do you think I’m going to continue to see?  In this situation, it’s really cut and dry, but many situations aren’t as clear. The article stated there are 5 common signs that suggest you need to change your doctor.  They are:

  1. The doctor. doesn’t tailor recommendations to your life
  2. The doctor is always running late
  3. The doctor rushes you
  4. The office is disorganized
  5. The doctor is arrogant

So from now on, I will periodically reevaluate my satisfaction with the doctors I see (and unfortunately there are many).  If I don’t feel as if I’m working as a team with my doctor and that we are not partners in this important relationship, I will look for another doctor.

It’s easier to find a doctor these days, then it is a potential mate, so why suffer with either relationship when you know in your heart it’s time to move on.

Writing 101: Be Brief (The Letter)

letter

As I walked home I saw a woman walking quickly ahead of me and then I noticed something fell out of her pocket.  I called for her, but she didn’t hear me and her pace was quickening so I couldn’t catch up to her.  I bent down to pick up the paper and it was a letter addressed to her boyfriend:
“Honey, I have so many mixed emotions and feelings when I think of you and I.  Yesterday was such a pleasant afternoon and the person that I fell in love with was present, but  lately I haven’t seen much of that person.  I talk about you sometimes as if you are 2 people, because that’s what it seems to me.  There’s the sweet guy with a heart bigger than anyone I’ve every met, but there’s also the angry, negative one that sucks the life out of you and who has hurt me more times than I care to remember.  I’ve come to realize that promises of “your heart” are fleeting because you are such an emotional being and this emotion makes you act irrational at times.”
The rest of the letter must still be in her pocket as it just ended abruptly, or had she decided not to continue writing the letter.  I guess I will never know, but I think about that girl and the emotional pain she was feeling that afternoon.

Writing 101: Serially Lost

losttime

Losing someone special or something that you care a great deal about is very painful, yet it’s something that everyone has to deal with and process in their own way and in their own time.  I lost 2 very special people, within a few months of each other and I’ve been thinking all day about which one I should write about and how to approach this post.  But as I sat down to write, I realized the greatest loss I have had in my life is losing the last 5 years to an illness.

When you lose a person, there’s a grieving process and the pain and sadness ease up after a period of time, but what happens when you lose your life to an illness and I don’t mean death, I mean having to figure out a way to live a purposeful and happy life, while you lost your previous life.  Grief associated with an ongoing illness isn’t as finite as losing a loved one.  The event happens and doesn’t go away.  How can time heal all wounds when your life is a daily permanent reminder of that loss and it is never ending.

Five years ago, I was in a great place, living a great life, not perfect but great.  I had entered a new relationship which was very special to me, I had a terrific job, where I was fairly compensated and I had freedom and unlimited choices.  I was happy and optimistic about my future.

It was a very cold February night as I went to sleep, thinking about the fun I was going to have at tomorrow’s Super Bowl Party and hoping that the numbers I picked in the office pool were going to net me the big win of the night.   I fell asleep quickly that Saturday night and when I awoke on Sunday morning, nothing was the same.

I couldn’t move, couldn’t get my legs to support my weight and I just lie there wondering what was going on.  After a while, my legs stopped shaking and I was able to make my way to the kitchen and brew a pot of coffee, thinking that would help me get on with my day.

Unfortunately, 2 cups of coffee later, I was in no better shape and had to go back to bed, where I spent the better part of the following week.  Everyone kept telling me I must have picked up a nasty virus and that I’d be back to normal in no time, but I knew something was very wrong and that a week in bed was not going to cure this ailment.

When you have a chronic condition, you are forever walking down a imaginary line that separates the past from the future. I think back to what I used to be able to do and think about the things I’ve had to give up and the time that I lost.  When I look forward, I can’t really picture what my future will bring, as I’m entering unchartered territory.

 

 

 

Writing 101: Write about the 3 most important songs in your life and what do they mean to you?

songs

Music touches everyone’s life in so many different ways and really is such a personal thing.  What means something to someone, doesn’t necessarily resonate with the next person.  I can think of so many songs that bring me back to different places in time over my life like Paradise by the Dashboard Light or Oh What a Night, but these songs aren’t important in an epic way.  They bring a smile to my face when I think back about High School and College days.

Three songs that mean something to me in an important way are:

  • From this Moment by Shania Twain
  • There’s a Hole in the World Tonight by the Eagles
  • I Want to See you Be Brave by Sara Bareilles

From This Moment was my wedding song and I still get chills when I think about dancing with my now Ex Husband for the first time in front of all our friends and family.  The night was a magical night, unfortunately the marriage wasn’t.  I believe that when I met my Ex, my life was truly going to begin and that I did belong right beside him for the rest of my life.  But I guess after looking back, he didn’t feel the same way, as he gave up on the marriage.

There’s a Hole in the World Tonight is a sad and powerful song performed after the attack on the World Trade Center in NYC.  I lived through that day and the horror in the coming days and there was also a hole in the ground and in my heart for a very long time.  This song brings me back in a split second to that day and the weeks that followed.  The smell in the air, the confetti and gray ash flying all over the place and the armed guards standing ready on most street corners.

I Want to See you Be Brave is a song I wrote about earlier on my Blog and I think it is a powerful song about saying what is on your mind and saying what you really feel.  I won’t repeat my blog post but I do wonder why some people can say what’s on their mind and get their point across without being cruel and hurtful, while others just spit out whatever thoughts are in their head, without regards for the other persons feelings.

It seems odd that a collection of sounds and words gets immersed in our brain and becomes associated with such deep memories and emotions.  Certain songs bring us immediately to tears, while others put a smile on our faces.  And as I finish this post, Pharrell Williams “Happy” song is playing in the background and my feet are tapping away!!

 

 

Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View)

http://www.nyhabitat.com (photo NY-14516D71)

 

I live in New York State, currently in one of the 5 boroughs, less than 10 miles from Manhattan.  Until I became ill and had to move out of Manhattan, I lived in NYC for 20 years, in the same apartment building.

Manhattan was great when you are able to walk around, take public transportation and have enough money to order in meals. But once I became confined to my apartment because of my illness, Manhattan became a horrible place to live.

Parking was a nightmare and none of my friends or family  could come visit me during the day, even on weekends it was difficult. I was a prisoner in my apartment, when I lived in the busiest city in the country, the city that never sleeps.  I sat in my apartment day after day,  looking out my window, seeing the world pass me by, as I tried to figure out what my illness was.

If I had to leave the apartment, I would count the steps required to walk up the block to the bus stop and then would picture in my mind how many steps were required to get to the doctors office that I needed to get to on that particular day.  My social life consisted of doctor visits and occasional phone calls when I had the energy.

My living room became my solace and I can still picture every last inch of it.  It’s etched in my mind and I loved being in that room.  I had lived in my apartment prior to my marriage and then remained there after my divorce.  Once my divorce was finalized, I redecorated the place so that I would have a fresh start.  I love to decorate and to pick out colors.  I don’t look at this process as work, or as a chore, like so many people do.  I was enjoying this process and everything I choice, I loved.

So if I could be transported back to one place, I would love to be able to go back to my old apartment in NYC and be healthy and once again enjoy what Manhattan has to offer.  I would visit the WTC Museum and have lunch at my favorite neighborhood place, which served the best grilled chicken salad, with hearts of palm and roasted artichokes.  Then I would walk cross town and go see the Broadway play Aladdin.

I probably wouldn’t have wanted to live in Manhattan forever, but I would have wanted to leave on my own terms and not be forced to leave because I became ill, went on disability and got fired from a company where I worked for 15 years at a job I absolutely loved.

Writing 101

corewriting

Since I enjoy writing and always want to be better at it, I decided to join the Writing 101 course offered by WordPress and today I have my first assignment.

The assignment seems simple enough, it’s to take 20 minutes and just free write, don’t think about what you are writing, just write whatever comes to mind.  Sounds simple enough as my mind never stops working but are people really interested in my random thoughts.  Well maybe today they are.

Mainly right now, I’m thinking about how cold I am this morning and how unprepared I am for the fall weather that has hit NYC. I love the fall, that’s my favorite season, but always hate the change in seasons as we go from warm to chilly to freezing and then again to warmer weather.  When you live in a small apartment, the change of seasons also means dragging out last season’s clothes and shoes and packing away the currents seasons items.  I have always hated this process and have come to hate it more since I’ve become ill.

I barely have energy to do what I need to do and this added work is a nuisance for me and takes about a month to complete as I can only do a carton a day.  Today I had to find my fuzzy slippers as flip flops won’t work any longer.  It’s funny how quickly the weather changes and your mindset has to change to.  Halloween is approaching and I even saw a commercial for Christmas Lay Away.  It is only September, but time marches on very quickly, even if I don’t march quickly.

I was excited about this course, as I was hoping it would help pass the days and also help me learn something as my mind has also slowed down, with my body slowing down.  I need to learn and am hoping this helps me feel challenged, even in a small way.

 

9-11

911MemorialMuseum

 

Today is the anniversary of one of the most horrible tragedies our nation has suffered and hopefully the worst that I will have to witness in my lifetime.  It’s almost unimaginable to think that 13 years have gone by since that cool, crisp September morning when NYC was under attack and I had to run for cover.  Thankfully, back then, I was healthy and could run and walk on my own. I often wonder what would have happened to me that morning if I had to rely on the kindness of others to protect me.

Many people were saved that morning because of the help of fire fighters, ambulance workers, police men and just plain old every day goodhearted citizens, but thousands of others weren’t so lucky and many of the ones that didn’t perish that morning were damaged emotionally  in ways that others can’t even imagine.

I won’t relive that morning, as I did it in my post on my blog a year ago, but I still felt it needed mention.  As a result of that day, many, many, many people’s lives were effected and unfortunately changed for the worse.  I know 2 people who worked in the towers and managed to escape and I know 1 person who was downtown that morning working in another building, and like me had to run for cover.  This last person is the one who emotionally has suffered the most and since that day, has never been the same.

Why is it that she has suffered the worst, when she hadn’t worked in the WTC.  We all saw horrific things that morning if we were by the Towers, but why is it that some of us have recovered emotionally and others haven’t.  To me this has to do with our mindset as we approached the day.

After witnessing the horrible events of that day, we all were in shock, and it took all of us time to process what had happened, to grieve for the people who lost there lives and the ones that lost their loved ones and then to heal.  But some people don’t heal, why?

Since 9-11, we’ve learned a lot about the brain and about suffering.  Trauma disrupts the balance of feeling, memory and decision-making in our brain and all these parts need time and care to come back into balance. Research has shown that even in the face of unimaginable tragedy and despite the fact that we will always remember what happened, emotional balance for many victims can return to normal within 2 years. This is a great cause for hope.  But what about the people whose brains don’t return to normal within 2 years, is there still hope for them?   We’ve also learned over the course of the last 13 years that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, affects not just the immediate victims of violence,  but also bystanders and witnesses.

In order to heal and recover, we must face our inner wounds and choose to fight them.  The alternative is to deny them, but then our suffering will continue and the healing process will be delayed.

My friend is working very hard to fight her inner wounds, but they are very deep and very severe, and unfortunately after 13 years, they are still there.  She has been crying since yesterday for the life she lost and for the person that never returned home from work the same.  I hope she is able to slay her demons (or at least tame them) this year and that the next time 9-11 rolls around on the calendar, it doesn’t have such a hold on her.