In Response to “A Letter to Patients”

Go read A Letter to Patients With Chronic Disease before you even finish reading what I’m about to say.

A twitter friend of mine Lisa sent me this a while back. I’ve read it at least a couple dozen times. Each time I read through it, it provokes a different reaction deep within me. At times, I’m thankful someone is willing to be so honest. At other times, I’m so angered by the brutal honesty of it.

Here’s what I mean:

Dr. Rob offers up this bit of information to chronic pain sufferers. He says, “You scare doctors”. My initial response is, “Well I hope so! I’m scared to. Even though I wouldn’t admit it to the outside world. Fix me!! Once I’ve calmed down, I realize this is helpful information.

Continuing on he says,

I am talking about your understanding of a fact that everyone else seems to miss, a fact that many doctors hide from: we are normal, fallible people who happen to doctor for a job. We are not special. In fact, many of us are very insecure, wanting to feel the affirmation of people who get better, hearing the praise of those we help. We want to cure disease, to save lives, to be the helping hand, the right person in the right place at the right time

Often times, as a patient, I do forget that doctors are human. They are not a God or any other higher power. They all went to school, studied from books and all have their own opinions. THAT is important for me to remember. Just like members of my family, friends, or the guy in the grocery store staring at my cane; doctors all have their own opinions about my pain and fatigue.

So it makes sense to me that if I choose to push the negative nay-saying friends and family out of my life, what’s to say I shouldn’t do the same with doctors?

Dr. Rob also makes a point that doctors can’t possibly understand what your going through. Just like we have come to accept that the people in our daily lives couldn’t possibly understand our pain, we need to accept this of our doctors.

Even doctors who specialize in your disorder don’t share the kind of knowledge you can only get through living with a disease.

Makes sense to me.

Dr. Rob also goes on to list some helpful tips when interacting with doctors. I highly suggest you go take a look.

What I’m left with is this…my primary doctor, my MS specialist, the ER physician…is someone’s daughter, son, brother, wife, fiancé or father. They are just a person who set out in their life to help people. Then *I came along, not their typical patient. I screwed with everything they learned. I defied their books and challenged their knowledge of disease and pain. Why shouldn’t they be frustrated? I know I am.

Food for thought.

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