A Letter to the Medical Profession

Dear Medical Profession,

I really wish that you all would kindly remember that we non-medical people do not know what you know.

For example, when a person is preparing for surgery (as I am this coming Monday), it’s a good idea to have them speak to one person, not two or three. As you know, prior to surgery the usual prep is to stop taking certain medicines and/or herbal remedies. As you also know, patient records are available in your hospitals, and you can check what meds/herbals the patient is taking.

Why am I bringing this up? Here’s why: I had two people call me and go through my meds. One said to stop taking multi-vitamins. The other said it was all right. One said to stop taking aspirin. The other said it was all right. What is wrong with this picture?

Also when speaking with said patient, please remember that you are dealing with a person who may be fearful about their surgery. Please also remember that they are not familiar with all hospital policies.

I know and appreciate that you are hard-working and good people. I also know that you are often over-burdened with your job. Things happen that are not your fault, yet you get blamed for them. This is not fair; I get it, and I don’t wish to be part of the problem.

All I’m asking is that you please put yourself in the shoes of the patient who is bugging you with questions and concerns. Please know that most of us appreciate all you do, and are grateful for your help.

But when a person is facing surgery, they may just be scared and want reassurance. We are apt to make you repeat things, ask you annoying questions, shout at you when you don’t deserve it, and generally make asses out of ourselves. As you know well, patients are often not patient.

We have watched too many doctor shows where “routine” surgeries go badly. We have talked with people who have had bad experiences at hospitals. We are scared, and we then act like whiny kids because we are scared.

I know that this is a lot to ask of you all. Just please remember that we patients do not what you know, we don’t know how things work in a hospital, we are nervous and a little understanding goes a long way.

Sincerely,

Your patient

 

 

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Fears and Phobias – How We Deal (or Not Deal) With Them

Like any other human on the planet, I have some fears. Most of them are fairly easily dismissed, but my big three are these: 1) seeing wreckage under water, 2) spiders, and 3) riding a rollercoaster.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid of seeing wrecks (especially boats and planes) under the water. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lake or the ocean, either. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the physical symptoms I get when I do happen to catch sight of any wrecks; nausea, breathlessness, blinding terror, and my heartbeat triples. Note to anyone responsible for showing wrecks on TV or the net–give people some damn warning beforehand, such as WARNING: you are about to see hundreds of deep sea wrecks!

I’ve had psychics tell me that I died in a plane crash, in the sinking of the Titanic, or went down with Atlantis in previous lives; who knows? As a child I went to summer camp, and of course had swimming and diving lessons. On one hot day, I remember standing on the diving board, ready to bounce into a perfect swan dive, when the shadow of a plane passed over me and the water. I was later told that I froze and couldn’t move, and apparently couldn’t hear the instructor yelling at me to jump. All I remember was the shadow and then suddenly lying on the dock, sick to my stomach. My instructor told me that she had to physically pull me off the board as I wouldn’t move on my own.

I started doing some research online to see how common this is, and guess what? It’s pretty common. I was feeling a lot less alone, and continued looking online. I found a forum about it, clicked to open it, and guess what? IT WAS FULL OF PICTURES OF WRECKS ON THE OCEAN FLOOR!!! Sheesh, you’d think that a forum about this particular fear would not show you pictures of wrecks. I mean, what were they thinking?! It’s just like having a forum about fear of snakes (snakeophobia to my wreckophobia) and when you open it up, there are thousands of snakes hissing and coiling and rattling at you. Again, a warning would be a great idea.

I understand that people can fight these fears with aversion therapy, i.e.; scared of spiders? Then you work with a therapist (aversionist?) who patiently guides you through being in the same room with a spider, getting close to a spider, and eventually touching the spider. Great idea I suppose, but for me it ain’t gonna happen. Ever.

Obviously if a particular fear holds you back in life, that’s a different story. For instance, if you have to travel for your job and you are afraid of flying, then some aversion therapy would be helpful. In my case and at my age, I see no reason whatsoever to have therapy for any of my three main fears. I don’t need to face any of those things on a job; I’m retired. Plus I doubt I would ever be anywhere where those big horrible spiders live. (I don’t even like the little ones that sometimes appear in my bathroom.)

As as for rollercoasters? There is nothing on this earth that will make me go on one again. I was coerced twice in my life (when I was a lot younger) to go on a rollercoaster, and I hated it. I screamed the whole way, wobbled off the ride and threw up each time. There is a time and place to face your fears, but my particular method is to just avoid them. The only one I get on a regular basis is spiders, and I can always count on the Crankee Yankee to get rid of them for me.

Were someone to suggest that I just face my fears already (what–like going down to the sea floor in a glass submarine filled with spiders and a built-in rollercoaster??), I’m old enough to say to all three:

  • No, not gonna happen
  • No and HELL no
  • Ask me again and I’ll have someone come to your house and shave your head when you’re sleeping

You have been warned.