THE IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUALITY: SPEAK UP!

speak up

Many years ago when I was a new nurse and went to work on a medical/surgical unit one of the surgeon’s warned me to never put two patients who were having the same surgery in a room together; as all the rooms were dual occupancy. He said they would compare their conditions, medications and healing progress and of course, he was correct. Each of us heal and mend in our own time, have our own medications specifically selected for us and respond individually. That’s a good thing, actually. This is a memory that lives on in me as a fine example of how different we each are one from another. I also found it appalling when as a nurse manager, I would occasionally hear, some nurse or nurse’s aide bellow up the hallway, “Hey the gallbladder in room 22 wants water.” Oh dear, gallbladders sitting in beds and thirsty at that. What a thought. There are times in our lives when we must stand up for our rights and privileges as individuals. Actually, I can think of few times when it isn’t necessary. Sometimes we are intimidated by those in powerful positions but that must not deter us. If you’re not on your own side in this fight for life, than who will be?

 

The cookie cutter approach to medicine has always been appalling to me. Each of us is as individual as a snowflake and should be treated that way. Life is complex and complicated and appears to be getting more so however each of us is simply a mixture of what we’ve experienced, learned, rejected or had put upon us both physically and mentally. This is never more so than in the area of our health. I have never been to a doctor’s office where there is a quiga board, a crystal ball or a gypsy mind reader, have you? Therefore, it is the patients, you and I who are responsible for informing new doctors or reminding old ones of what they should know about us. I would also suggest that you keep an open mind about other fields of medicine such as chiropractic, homeopathy and acupuncture. Main street medicine is not the only game in town for many of us. Many of us have also found much relief from physical therapy and the rehab practices.

 

I have recently gone through a long siege at the dentist. Lest you think I don’t brush, let me reassure you I do and actually own a waterpik and have no idea why I developed so many dental problems in the same year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Well, actually, that’s not quite true. I do have a couple of ideas. I also fractured my back by bending over and have severe osteoporosis and believe that may affect my teeth and indeed, anybody’s teeth who also share this condition of loss of bone density. I also have Sjogren’s Syndrome and for those of you who aren’t familiar with it one of its symptoms is dry mouth, dry throat and also dry eyes. However, in my case my nose runs like a big, friendly, overly enthusiastic dog’s. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, although I have made a point of drinking fluids all day long because I know I should and dry throat demands it.

 

As most of you already know I also suffer from a disease of the cartilage which has affected many parts of my body and causes me to have the most inconvenient problem of not being able to sit for long. It hurts my bum. These problems along with arthritis all up and down the spine make going to the dentist a bit of a challenge. I won’t call it a nightmare because my dentist is wonderful as are the staff who work for him. They are the friendliest office crew I have ever encountered and that does go a long way toward stemming the tide of shots of novocaine, drills whirring in your mouth and all that pick and ax routine that make you feel as though your brain will emerge at any moment. It makes shrill screaming, on the part of the patient, much more difficult when someone is behaving kindly toward you.

 

Each time any of us are faced with uncomfortable procedures, it’s a good idea to arrive armed to the teeth (pun), about our own condition and where our problem areas lie. You and I are responsible for our health problems being managed and when necessary to inform others when we need assistance. For instance, I can’t lean back in the dental chair without a couple of rolled up towels supporting my neck. We each have to learn how to speak up on behalf of ourselves and our own comfort and safety. Sitting for a long visit is also problematic for many of us and my trips and treatments had to be spread out a bit more perhaps than they would be for others. Ten trips to the dentist later, I am now fully armed and ready to bite the head off of anyone who irritates me.

 

My last visit was particularly gruesome due to the location of three cavities and the fact my mouth is only so large, in spite of what my writing might indicate. I proposed to the kind dentist that, instead of having clouds overhead, he might want to print a rating system on the ceiling, complete with expletives. He could have a list of ten complaints or curse words. That way a patient with cotton in their mouth or clamps holding their jaw open could simply point and utter, “Five and three.” I don’t expect he’ll take me up on the suggestion because he’s an extremely clean living fellow and not given to expletives himself. My last comment to him was that my last visit was definitely a “number two,” and all that that implies for those of you, like me, who have juvenile minds.

 

I believe each of us has an obligation to stand up for ourselves; well, maybe not literally while at the dentist, but you get the gist. In this last year since I’ve been seeing so many new physicians in the field of cancer unlike the rheumatologists and dermatologists I usually see, I have seen a look of amazement cross several faces. My list of diagnoses has dropped many a jaw. My list of medications is long and detailed. I always have an updated version in my purse to prevent any misunderstandings.

 

Far too often patients go to a new physician and expect him to play guessing games. This is not the time to play coy. Tell him/her what is wrong, what medications you’re taking and what your significant history is. So often you sit in the lobby and fill out fifteen pages of paperwork and the doctor doesn’t see it because it’s stuck in a file so don’t be afraid to ask if he/she has seen the library book you just wrote in the lobby. Speak up. This is your life we’re talking about and they are there because of you. Big mouths unite…speak up. I have found by being a bit more aggressive, doctors tend to remember you more easily, see you as individuals and I suspect, secretly respect you for it as long as you don’t overdo it. Be respectful, this means no swearing, spitting or biting. Control your emotions as much as possible. Those weeping conversations full of unintelligible words are frustrating for a stranger to deal with. The only thing they communicate is your level of emotional trauma and that’s not always good. The last thing you want is for the words “nut job” to go onto your computerized chart where it will live forever, even if you don’t.

 

I have also found my general practice doctor often becomes frustrated if I lay too many of my rheumatology problems at her feet. I just hit them lightly and move on to her areas of expertise which is usually the current problem such as the flu or my basic medications. Some of us have health histories that are overwhelming and although they draw sympathy, they take up far too much time and remember, sympathy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There’s a fine line between the doctor dreading to see you and the doctor helping you. Lay it out there but don’t overdo it. Keeping it light can also help. The doctors have to get through the day just as we do and the business of medicine gets mighty heavy for them sometimes, just as it does for us. Speak up, don’t throw up. Stand up, don’t fall down and always be as pleasant and respectful as you can be unless the doctor you’re seeing is a real jerk, then forget all of the above and get the heck out of there and find another one. Why do people stay with doctors that are unkind, rude or incompetent? I can only think of two reasons: insurance problems or being too inhibited to get up and leave.

 

Some individuals think a doctor is a doctor and one is as good as another. That is completely untrue. You and I deserve the best. A doctor’s reputation usually speaks quite loudly and now with the age of computers it’s much easier to read reviews or look up something about someone. I have often relied on my trusty family practitioner who has always kept me in touch with the best in each field of practice. I trust her knowing she has my welfare in mind. If you and I are to have the best care we must always speak up and on rare occasions, get up and walk out. Most importantly of all, for the best medical care we must let our health care providers know the facts, the details and the pertinent information about our bodies. I understand it’s not always easy. After all, I have to tell them all I have a bad bum. It’s a great “ice breaker.” Funny, but that also always evokes a smile.

 

 

159 thoughts on “THE IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUALITY: SPEAK UP!

  1. Hey Ya’all !!
    Wow it is supposed to be a HIGH of 38′ tomorrow !! BRRR !! I have laid out some stew beef to make a big pot of soup and can it tomorrow. I got to get in the pool today (Yippee) but before that I did a little cardio with the class that Fran teaches (Ms Alice’ daughter) My back didin’t like it much nor my hip, but I made it thru, then went on the the water aerobics. I feel like I have had a really good workout for the first time in a long time. Came home and made me some eggs and coffee, Now I am going to read myself to sleep for a bit. Got a lot of work to do, however, I used up ALL my spoons on that workout and must rest. Good thing it is only on Fridays ! 🙂
    I hope you all have a wonderful day ! Janet how are you doing ???
    Love
    Tonie

    • TONIE……i AM MAKING BEEF STEW TOMORROW TOO, I PUT BAY LEAVES IN MINE,,DO YOU? RED WINE TOO.HOW DID YOUR SESSION IN THE POOL GO? tHAT WILL HAVE DONE YOU A LOT OF GOOD, BUT I BET YU ACHE IN MUSCLES YOU’D FORGOTTEN ABOUT TOMORROW….HE HE !!!….HOPE YOU SLEPT WELL….TALK SOON….LOVE JENNIE POO XXXXX

    • Tonie, Have tons of boxes to unpack and am having a heck of a time finding some things,but other than that doing pretty good. Went to my son’s baseball game last night. He plays in a softball league for 50+. It’s amazing what some of those older guys can do. I was very proud of him.
      i kind of gave up canning when my boys moved out 30 years ago. Didn’t seem worthwhile with just the two of us. still made jams and jellies, but gave up on the other stuff, went to freezing stuff instead.
      I envy you your workout, still haven’t signed up for my new gym, been too busy.
      You take care now. Janet

      • Janet, glad you are doing well. I like to can stuff, cause I am afraid of the power going off mid winter for days and loosing it all 🙂 I only canned 2 quarts of soup, but it will taste good this winter when I want it . I am SORE from my workout. But looking forward to doing it again on Monday.

        Love ya
        Tonie

  2. HELLO……DON’ KNOW WHY I AM BACK TO MY OLD USER NAME, BUT THERE YOU GO…….WELL AT LAST I AM ABLE TO TELL YOU WHY I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO POST ALL BUT THE ODD ONE-LINER.
    A SO-CALLED FRIEND FOUND OUT MY PASSWORD, AND WAS ABLE TO READ EVERYTHING ON HERE, MY MAIL, F/B…THE LOT. SO I HAD TO STAY OFF TO PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY, I THOUGHT IF I DIDN’T POST, HE WOULD LOSE INTEREST AND NOT LOOK. ITS BEEN A NIGHTMARE, I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO REPLY OR COMMENT ON WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING TO ALL OF YOU, NEARLY BROKE MY HEART TO THINK THAT YOU WOULD THINK I SIMPLY DIDN’T CARE….WELL I DID, AND DO, SO NOW I HAVE MUCH TO CATCH UP ON……….LOVE TO YOU ALL…..JENNIE XXXX

  3. SUE….I DON’T KNOW IF YOU ARE ABLE TO READ THIS, BUT IF YOU ARE, I WAS VERY UPSET WHEN I HEARD ABOUT YOUR BACK, BUT UNABLE TO COMMENT, AS YOU WILL READ IN MY EXPLANATION ABOVE. ITS STRESSFUL WHEN THIS HAPPENS, BECAUSE I WANTED TO ADD MY PRAYERS AND SUPPORT TO EVERYONE ELSE’S, AND I COULDN’T, BUT I AM DOING IT NOW. I HOPE THAT SOON YOU MAY BE UP TO WRITING AGAIN, BUT IT TAKES TIME, AND THIS HAS BEEN YET ANOTHER MAJOR SETBACK FOR YOU………..ALWAYS HERE FOR YOU MY FRIEND, LOVE YOU…..JENNIE XX

  4. Good morning peeps !!
    THere is “frost on the punkin” this morning. UGH!!! Had to get up and plug in my bedroom heater last night , it was nippy . Supposed to warm back up though this week, one more night of coldness, then back to warmth before the cold hits for good 😦 !!
    Had a productive day yesterday. Didn’t get to the apples though, I need to get them started on Monday. I will peel them and freeze until I am ready to can them all. Woke up with major pain in my shoulder, worse I have ever had. Broke out a strong pain pill and went back to sleep. I have almost finished quilting little Kayden’s quilt. I think it is quite lovely, but then I am the artist 🙂
    Pray all have a wonderful day.
    Sue , prayers for you my friend. as always
    Love
    Tonie

  5. OK here, just busy and recovering from a sudden cold snap. So sorry for your password troubles, Jennie. Did you change the password so your “friend” can no longer access? Oh dear.
    Janet, unpack all in due time. Glad you are settling in.

      • I’m hanging in there, Jennie. The cold snap here threw me into RA fatigue and some added joint pain. I really hate that foggy, fatigued feeling. I was blessed to be free of it for a much longer time than I can recall this summer, so I guess I shouldn’t complain. So glad you got your privacy situation straightened out. 🙂

  6. Hi Tonie…..Frost already, We are starting to feel a bit of a chill in the air first thing, but not got to that stage just yet. Picked the last of the red things this morning, though having said that, I noticed there were still a few flowers on there, so might be the odd one or two still to come……plenty of razzers though, got the second crop just through. Seems like you are making good eadway with the little one’s quilt, saw your photo’s he looks adorable, you must be so proud.Sorry you had such bad pain with you shoulder, and I hope the pill did the trick………….been a traumatic time here, but things settling down now…….God bless…Jennie poo x

    • Jennie:
      Your seasons on the berries are much later than ours here. We have them in the early to mid summer, then they are gone ! Funny how that is. This cold snap is just a fluke, we should be back to normal temps tomorrow. However, I have had the heat on for two nights now. Been really nippy. Yes, the pill helped. However, I didn’t make it back to church last night. Was just worn out for some reason. Maybe it was the cold . Anyhow, have a good day. I am off to work out this am, then back to peel apples.
      Love
      Tonie

      • Probably the cold snap causing you fatigue. I know it’s doing it to me. That and extra joint pain. Oh the joys of the season to come… We have the heat on right now, too.

        Jennie, enjoy the end of those berries! We said goodbye to them around the time Tonie did. 😦 Well, local ones anyway.

      • HI TONIE….YES WE TEND TO GET A LATE CROP OVER HERE, WON’T LAST MUCH LONGER THOUGH, GOT A FEELING THE FROST IS ON ITS WAY. ITS QUITE COLD HERE NOW, SO IF YOU ARE SET ON GETTING SOME MORE SUNSHINE, CAN YOU SEND SOME OVER HERE, WE’VE GOT A GREY DEPRESSING OLD DAY, AND ITS RAINING….ON WITH THE WINTER TOGS, JUST STARTING TO PUT AWAY THE SUMMER THINGS LIKE YOU DID,. THINK ITS TIME TO GET THE CHIMNEY SWEPT, AND GET SOME LOGS UP………LUCK WITH THE ARM WORKOUT, AND APPLE PEELING….LOVE YOU JENNIE POO XX

  7. Hey everyone, things going pretty good here. A bit chilly. Had to put a blanket on my bed. Tonie I hope you haven’t done too much and irritating your shoulder. I am hurting in my neck and shoulders so I had to hit the pain pills too. Take care of your shoulder. Sue, I read about your back and I am so sorry. My rheumatologist wants me to start the twice a year injections too. I also have osteoporosis. So I will keep praying for you and your back to heal quickly. We all miss you but we understand. I had to go to the ER by ambulance with my back once. It was quite painful. When I came home I was in my friends car and it was much better as well. Of course I was full of pain shots. Jennie, so sorry about your mail problem. Did you change your password? It is scary that someone can get on and read all of our stuff. Especially if they know your password and can see all the private messages. I hope it is working ok now. I love all of you!! Donna

    • Donna:
      Sorry you are hurting !! Nope, I have been very good to this shoulder. Especially knowing the screw is in there this time. I am afraid of tearing the muscle loose 🙂 Trying to behave as much as possible. Seems like it is the small movements that bother it the worst. Like writing or crocheting . BUT… It is on the way to healing, so all is well. Hope you are feeling better this am. As I am.
      Love back
      Tonie

    • HI DONNA….I AM SO SORRY TO HEAR YOU ARE HAVING SO MUCH PAIN PET, DO THE PAIN PILLS TAKE THE EDGE OFF A BIT? YES LOVE, ALL PASSWORDS CHANGED NOW, SO NO NEED TO WORRY, BUT IT WAS A REAL INVASION OF PRIVACY…….LOOK AFTER YOURSELF MY FRIEND, AND I ENJOYED YOUR PHOTO’S…….LOVE JENNIE X

  8. Hi all
    Had the bowel polyps out ths morning
    This time it was sore..the other 2 times weren’t
    I was sedated a bit but awake and with it
    Sore now, it’s the evening..maybe it’s from the awful moviprep as well
    But hope I don’t start bleeding I did before ,5 years ago
    DH still has rash size of dinner plate on buttock.on steroid cream
    Dr says its contact dermatitis.made more sensitive due to shingles
    My dad isn’t doing his thickening drinks all the time I can tell with sound of his voice all gurgely
    Wish my mind could rest on something easy! You know what I mean…
    Hope all not too bad in this changing weather
    Chris

    • Chris, I pray nothing goes amiss for you now that you’ve made it through. It seems to have been more uncomfortable than last and for that I am sorry. Watch carefully, okay? Any signs of cramping, blood in stools, etc. Poor DH. Is there no end to his skin problems? What patience so many of us must develop or should I say it thrust upon us. Prayers for both of you. As for your Dad, it seems he will do as he will do.
      Hope you can get to the coast soon to have your mind rest on something easy, perhaps over there. Hang in there sweet lady. Love, Sue

  9. Jo, I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the recent family pics you’ve posted on FB. What a pretty girl you were and are and your Mom, too. Aren’t family pictures a wonderful tie to memories and the heart? I pray your pain is in control to a certain degree now. Are you back home in AZ? Thinking of you often, Sue

  10. Jennie, so the last of the strawberries? I know, I know, the dreaded red berry. I miss them too my dear. I’ve just been snacking on a bag of vegies my DD prepared and brought up here yesterday for me of carrots, bell peppers, celery, etc. So thoughtful of her.
    Jen, how awful for you to have a friend treat you and spy on you in that manner. What a terrible experience and person he must be. Who the H…? did he think he was. Makes me angry for you. I pray all is cleared up now but it was the last thing you needed.
    How is the pain in the jaw, neck and face? I hope it is better. I am landed in bed like a big landed trout venturing only to the bathroom. What a life, huh? I have no choice. Thank God I did get my bone shot on that very day so that is at least working for me and I am seeking and eating all forms of calcium I can find. I eat to live and if it tastes good? so much the better. Thought of you often and did hope your absence wasn’t from more pain. Sounds like fall is autumnal in France as well as here. We’re having find weather before the end of summer. My world is so small right now, just pain pills, TV, reading and that’s pretty much it. Can’t sit up long enough to do much needle work or I would. Hugs dear girl, Sue

  11. Tonie, Oh dear, nice weather gone already? Heater on already. Well, when you get your money you can have some luxuries you’ve missed and life will be better if you get the prefab you’re looking at with such interest. All of your cooking sounds so good and peeling apples today, huh? Think of you often but am pooping out now. Will write everyone else in awhile after resting. Much love, Sue P.S. Glad that nasty shoulder recovered overnight. I was afraid it was yesterday’s workout. Sue

  12. Woohoo sue
    Nice to see you back and yea I will keep looking and be wary for another 48 hrs
    Results back about 7 days but my dr usually has them quicker
    A small world seems safer sue when your in pain,I always think that .if I’m away from home and ill I feel I gotta get back and feel safer surrounded by what I know

    Tonie
    You have to send me a photo of your new home when you get it ,looking forward to hearing all about it when time is nearer
    Ok that’s it gonna make a cup of tea and a bicky then try and sleep
    Oh yea the new Downton is good
    Sue you rest well too
    Chris

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