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A little bit of validation and understanding goes a loooonnngggg way !!!

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1104
Joined: Jul 2009

Thursday I finally got up the courage to go through with the nerve conduction testing I knew I needed to get the stamp of yet another diagnosis regarding my late effects from treatments. I knew I had nerve damage from my chemo drugs, no one had to tell me that, but you know how it goes - the doc has to say so too. lol. Of course the end result was him saying 'well no surprise you have nerve damage from chemo drugs'. Duh.

However, that all isn't the reason I decided to write a post about the experience. The reason is the doctor himself - the neurologist who ran the test. He was very kind and understanding throughout the whole test and even though I was a total wuss throughout and no doubt a major pain in the keester to him while he was trying to figure out my complicated medical issues together with these conduction results, he still never gave me one moment of grief or invalidated my comments in anyway. He made an uncomfortable situation much easier for me just by being gentle about it all and showing some degree of understanding of what I had been through and where I was now with it all.

After the test was over I laid there on the examination table for a few seconds longer, getting over the shocks for a bit. This doctor came over to the side of the table and looked down on me lying there and said 'you sure have been through so so much haven't you?' Well I could have started crying no trouble at all - it was close. Just that tiny bit of sensitivity and going outside the immediate testing situation by showing that validation and understanding was just overwhelming to me. So many times doctors had one hand on the doorknob from the moment they came into the examining room - no doubt not being able to pick my face out of a lineup because they only saw me as 'another patient', never even looking at me as a person or taking into consideration what I had been through. It doesn't take much.

I left the office of that doctor feeling understood and validated and I think I will send him a letter thanking him for how he handled the situation, it's just so rare these days it seems when lineups are long and time is short. He was training an intern who was involved with my testing too that day and you could tell that the intern was picking up on this neurologist's kind and caring manner - so nice to see.

I usually leave doctor's offices used to feeling invalidated and treated in a not so soft and kind manner which made this visit to see the neurologist a very pleasant and welcome experience. I wish that kind of specialist for all of you everytime you step into a physician's office. It doesn't take much to make a patient feel better but it seems so few take the time.

Blessings,

Bluerose

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

That was refreshing. I'm lucky that most of the doctors I see are pretty
good. If it's a doctor I see regularly, I make a point to find out things
about them. My oncologists likes to cook so I may bring up a recipe or something
to get us flowing in a more personal kind of conversation. I just make a point to
get to know a little more about them and use that.

I'm at a teaching hospital so especially at the beginning, I dealt with lots of
interns coming in asking the same questions. On occasion, I'd have as many as
8-10 standing around my bed. A question I've been asked frequently enough is how
can the doctor improve communication with his patient. I mostly said, "Listen and treat us like we're human".

I went to college with several people who became physicians - I know they are just
as human as anyone. Some were nice, very caring people. Others were already planning
on the sports cars and dollars they were going to spend before they started med school.

Just my 3 cents... :)

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1104
Joined: Jul 2009

I'm sure doctors hear alot about what they did wrong with this and that attitude or something they said the patient didn't like so I think it's just as important, if not more, to take a minute to let them know when they have done something that was appreciated by patients too.

Just my 2 and a 1/2 cents. lol.

Take care.

Bluerose

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

I do twuly agwee ;).

Thanks

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 6177
Joined: Apr 2009

I am so glad to hear you found someone who understood if even for that one time it makes a differents to someone who has a need. People normally look at us and say come on its not that bad, if only they new sometimes just how bad bad can be.

Take care
Hondo

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1104
Joined: Jul 2009

Thanks for your response. Yup I was just thinking yesterday that it is really something that one doctor's response of compassion and understanding can seem so extraordinary to a patient. I mean it's just sad that it is so unusual, don't you think? I have had some fine doctors, don't get me wrong, but it just takes one negative comment or uncaring attitude to really through a person back if the doc catches them at a particularly vulnerable time. I know you understand what I mean.

I still have to write that thank you letter to him and his intern. It warms my heart to think that this neurologist is teaching that caring attitude towards patients to a new generation of doctors. Wonderful. It's a teaching hospital.

Take care.

Bluerose

palmyrafan's picture
palmyrafan
Posts: 397
Joined: Mar 2011

are key to a good relationship with a doctor, nurse, etc. I am so glad that you had a doctor who took the time to stop, listen and express concern for how you have been feeling. They are rare.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

Teresa

bluerose's picture
bluerose
Posts: 1104
Joined: Jul 2009

I agree. I think many if not most of us have had that experience where we deal with so many doctors that when one shows up who is extra caring like this one was it touches us. I am just so glad, as I said, that he has students learning under his guidance - some of that kindness and understanding was definitely rubbing off on the intern who was looking after me. Hope for the future of young docs coming up behind the old guard.

It's such a new day in cancer treatment, both in the treatments themselves and the treatment of patients. When I first joined this cancer game you had to look far and wide for cancer support and today look how far we have come in support? It's really fabulous to see.

Off to liedown after that big Thanksgiving dinner I had yesterday. Burp. lol.

Thanks for the response Teresa, take good care.

Blessings,

Bluerose

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