Saturday, February 25, 2012

Doctors, Staff. Patients & Patience

(Note to readers: Not posting as much because I have some trouble putting my writing together lately. I have to write things out longhand before typing them. The Sarcoidosis makes it hard to put the thoughts and words together spontaneously - though, surprisingly enough, I can still type pretty well. The writing and proofing on paper has got to be good for keeping my abilities up. I hope I can get it finished and posted soon.)

Anyone who knows me has heard me speak about my doctor. I know that there are many, many excellent physicians, but my doctor is the best one for me. I truly believe that God put me in his care when I fell sick with the Sarc. For one thing, I have always hated having to see a doctor and  had never been hospitalized before. I was terrified at the idea of being that ill, and everything was very confusing to me at the time. My doctor is "new" enough that he is still passionate about his calling and tireless in the pursuit of it. On top of that, he is just a good and decent person.

Having said that, I have to admit that I am probably the worst kind of patient! I'm scatter-brained (somewhat by nature and somewhat by Sarc) and can be difficult. I don't always readily follow the doctor's orders and I am sometimes resistant to common sense.

Still, my doctor is the soul of patience. I think maybe one reason God put me in his care was to build up his patience for patients (not trying hard to sound cute!) and show him the worst right off the bat.

I have gone in for appointments in various stages of lucidity, fear, hysteria, depression, optimism... You name it, I've felt and shown it. And, through it all, my doc has been steady, hopeful, truthful and uplifting. He stays honest with me - not sugar-coating anything, but he doesn't ever make me feel like I'm  facing something I can't handle. Matter of fact, I could swear that he oftentimes has more confidence in me than I have in myself.

Most doctors (at least the few I'd previously seen) feel only responsible for the specific physical health issues of their patient. Like if you go to a doctor because you have migraines, they work to treat the headaches - ease them and find ways to maybe end them. They don't have to give a damn about whether or not you are depressed because you have the headaches, or whether your headaches make your life hell in general. They don't have to, but some do. My doctor does give a damn. I guess that about sums up my situation.

I think that if I were my doctor, I'd probably be ready to go into therapy by now. Probably I'd have to pray for strength, meditate or do some calming, stomach acid-cooling pill-popping just before an appointment. (I take that back. I would not be my doctor. Period.)

Actually, I have two doctors. The other one is a specialist. He's excellent and has been wonderful to me during my treatment. He's a little more remote. I know that he's had his "me." Somewhere, at some point, he had the patient like me who just broke him right in. I'm sure that's why doctors put up those cool exterior defenses - to keep from being worn down by so much caring. It's great to care, but I bet when you've got a bunch of patients to deal with, there's only so much of yourself to give.

So. I am thoroughly grateful to be my doc's patient at this time in his profession. Or maybe (and I really believe this might be the case), maybe my doctor is just in the right profession for his personality, character and depth of compassion. I think he may be one of the rare ones. One of those who won't "burn out" because his well of sincerity is deep enough to span his lifetime.

Oh, and I can't talk about my doctor without talking about some of the nurses I have been under care of. Talk about having to be a special kind of person! I could never be a nurse because all my feelings show so clearly. Apparently nurses have additional skills that concern facial muscles. During just that one stay in the hospital, I saw what these men and women really go through. I thought I was a unique pain in the ass. Noooo... I saw nurses having to deal with patients who went out of their way to be human headaches.

One of my hospital roommates had a knack for waiting until the nurses were at their busiest before she became a quality assurance tester for the Call button. She'd announce to me what her request was going to be just before she buzzed. "I'm going to need a snack because that meal was just flimsy." (Our meals were not the least bit "flimsy.)  Or, "I think they're going to have to give me a sleeping pill. I feel like I'll be up all night." (She was up all night because she watched TV and yakked on her cellphone.) People I know and love are fair game, but I hate being rude to strangers, so I'd just vaguely acknowledge this woman and then go back into my stupor of boredom. She'd lean on that buzzer until I just knew everyone at the Nurses' Station was visualizing a strangulation, Hell, if I'd been lucid enough, I'd've done it for them and claimed emotional duress or something. Did those nurses grit their teeth or roll their eyes or, I don't know, come in and slap the tastebuds off this woman's tongue? Nope. They came in just as if her every need was their only duty. Wow. Just a beautiful bunch of folks they were. (And me with my crazy ass, I couldn't remember not a specific name when I was surveyed later! That has bothered me a lot ever since. The best I could do was indicate the dates I was in their care.)

So, if you are ever sick enough to need a doctor or a hospital and nurses, be thankful for the good ones. Be nice to nurses. It takes special people to do such a disgusting and stressful job with a smile and kind word.