Friday, April 18, 2008

dear people who look after people professionally

Dear Doctors,

As someone who has been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, I have had a lot of contact with the health care community. Some of these contacts have been very helpful and fruitful for my personal development and physical comfort, but other contacts have left me leaving your offices in a state of despair, frustration, and/or anger.

When treating any patient who comes through your office, please remember the following:

With the ready availability of information in the form of print and electronic data, I know that I have a lot of knowledge at my finger tips. In my opinion, knowledge is power. And for a long time, you folks had all the power. (Goddam the invention of the printing press! It was the beginning of the end for authority!)

Thankfully, with the encouragement of education in our culture, I now have a degree of power too. I now know many of the things that you know. I may not understand things to the full extent that you do, but trust that I have a few brain cells to rub together, and what I do not know, I am fully capable of learning.

I also know that my diagnosis often interferes with how you relate to me, no matter how impartial you claim you are. I can understand how the word "psychosis" glares up at you from your charts, threatening every interaction we have with its presence. I am acutely aware of this since I have lived my life branded with that word for close to ten years.

Please think twice before you think to patronize me by brushing off my physical discomforts as "stress" or "anxiety." And when I have found an "unconventional" solution (by YOUR standards) that solves my physical discomfort, please do not patronize me again by brushing it off as a placebo effect.

Keep in mind that you do not live in my house. You do not know me. You see me for 15 minutes, perhaps 3 or 4 times a year. So spare me your judgments and do your job with an open mind. And if you don't understand something, maybe you'd best go crack open a book, because I know I've done my research before I've even set foot in your office.

Your Defiant Patient,
O.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is pretty hilarious, actually.

I'll bet your health care professionals looooooove treating their "defiant" patient, and are just kicking themselves for pushing themselves through all those gruelling years of medical school only to find that clever, clever you had already found all the answers out there among the oh-so-reliable "interwebs".

Your "research" isn't really worth anything, except as a basis for you to ask questions. And that's only useful if you'll listen to the answers.

Good luck getting taken seriously, ever, by any doctor, with your current attitude.

Mindless Pursuits said...

Very well stated! I'd also add that doctors need to utilize the power of information themselves and when I'm a returning patient, take two minutes before you see me to refresh your memory with my chart so we don't spend 40 of our 50 minutes with you counseling me wrongly because you've gotten me confused with another patient!

Occupant (aka Olivia) said...

no. my research and university degree are worth nothing.

i am a stupid idiot!

i must not get uppity, demand quality care that is free of judgment; and mostly i must keep my mouth shut when i feel that i am experiencing stigma or discrimination.

thank you for reminding me of this. i sincerely appreciate your effort and willingness to share your "knowledge" of issues of this type.
O.

Occupant (aka Olivia) said...

well stated mindless. i can imagine that that has happened more than once.

just a note, my april 21, 12:58 comment was in reference to the comment left by anonymous at 3:18.