Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Imagine That!

Ok, you may want to sit down for this one, or at least hold on to something sturdy. What I'm about to tell you may come as quite a shock. There is this movement called The Carnival of Compassion. The main point of this "Carnival" is to bring patient bloggers together and it "addresses issue pertaining to life, death, healing and disease." To learn more about it, just click on the title and it'll take you to that link. It's a way to learn about how different patients deal with their disease, new treatments or medical breakthroughs that directly affect their care, and about their caregivers and how they deal with the patient, the disease, and themselves.

I think this idea is long overdue. But, what's truly shocking is that this was started by a doctor! Yes, you read right, a doctor. It's like a miracle. Thus, I am encouraged a very tiny bit that there are good doctors in the world who do want to cultivate compassion in their lives and practices. I sure wish there were more of them, though. I wish there was an obvious, united front full of compassionate doctors but, for now, I will be thankful that there is at least one compassionate doctor in the country, Dr. Dell. Perhaps, as his idea for this Carnival catches on, the spirit of compassion will spread to his colleagues and thereby trickle down to us, the patients.

Just imagine going to the ER with a migraine and not being assaulted with a bunch of bullshit about how you're just a desperate junkie out to use the poor, naive, defenseless doctor as your dealer; but instead you are ushered quickly into a dark room where a doctor shows up only a couple minutes later, (rather than 2 hours later), and in hushed tones, (rather than the usual loud, gruff, snarl), asks how you're doing and what usually works for your migraines? And, just for one luxurious moment, imagine being given rescue medications immediately and, having actually been listened to by the doctor, you're given the exact medications in the exact dosages that you tell him have always worked for you in the past. (Most of us would be happy if the doctor would just call our PCP and ask her if we're on the up 'n' up, and they don't even do that!)

Imagine the doctor believing that you're in pain when he sees you curled up in a fetal position, crying your eyes out. Imagine a doctor that pats you gently on the hand and tells you that you're going to feel a whole lot better after this initial little stick? Imagine having a doctor who is willing to do a little research to find out if there are any medical treatments, any at all, that he didn't suggest, yet, for your pain. A doctor who won't just give up on you, because he hasn't found something that works for you yet? A doctor who, after exhausting all other avenues, will put you on a pain killer without making you feel like it's basically your fault, somehow, and you're just a loser who wants drugs and won't cooperate with the other forms of medication. (Is it my fault that I'm allergic to a quarter of the medications, a quarter of the medications are contraindicated because of my other diseases and the other half don't work? I'm not trying to be difficult. Being on medication of any kind is not my idea of a satisfying lifestyle.) Imagine not having to beg for refills on your medication when you run out a day or two early?

Imagine a world with doctors who really do care about their patients more than they care about their own prejudicial fears? What a wonderful world to live in that would be. What a difference in how a patient would feel about themselves as they leave the hospital or office. Instead of leaving feeling like a big, fat zero who isn't any better than the gum this doctor scraped off his shoe this morning, you leave feeling like you're a human being to be respected and treated with the dignity you deserve as one of God's own creations? Imagine that!

I'm really sorry to have to do this, but you have to snap out of it and come back to the real world, now.


At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Kerrie said...

It's terrific, isn't it?

Are you considering signing up to host a carnival? It's really fun.

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Eleanor said...

Man, this makes me feel lucky. My experiences with doctors haven't been anywhere near that bad. Plenty of doctors have been unable to really help me, but almost all of them have been respectful, and have genuinely tried to help.

There are good doctors out there. I wish I could recommend one to you, but I'm on the other side of the world!

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

Hi, Kerrie

Yes, I am planning on being a part of the C<3, probably Jan 2nd, the way it looks right now. :) I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but anything I can do to help promote compassion in the world, well, how can I not participate at least? You inspire me, what can I say? lol


You'd probably be shocked by the things we, migraneurs, hear, here in the states. If you look at previous posts you'll see references to it, frequently, including my own personal (and near death) experiences with under-educated and uncompassionate ER doc's. See, August 2, 2005: Oh, the Things You'll Hear, if you'd like to read a short list of things that migraneurs have heard from their er docs. It's the main reason migraneurs don't go to the ER, even when they need to, becuase, if you didn't want to blow your brains out before you went, you sure do afterward--or so the joke goes.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Eleanor said...

I've read a few horror stories, including some in Paula Kamen's book. It made me glad to live where I do.

That said, there are advantages and disadvantages. I've found New Zealand doctors to be more cautious about prescribing drugs, particularly addictive ones. I've had to beg for sleeping pills in the past, which can be a pain, but it's nice to know that they aren't handing out dangerous drugs like candy.

On the other hand, the larger population base in the States means that there are actually things like headache clinics. It seems we can't support things like that here. But yes, I realise that for some people the closest one may be a day's drive away!

Also, New Zealand seems to follow the lead of overseas countries in terms of new therapies - it can take a long time for new things to filter through and become available here.

I do appreciate what I have though - a healthcare system that has mostly treated me with compassion. Some treatments have even been government funded, including a psychologist who specialises in chronic-pain patients.

I've never been to the hospital ER with a migraine, just a private A & E clinic. They were pretty nice really, but that may have been because I wasn't asking for any heavy duty pain meds - just an anti-nausea injection to stop me from throwing up!

At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Stacy said...

Hi there,
I stumbled across your blog (I'm not really sure how- lol) but just wanted to let you know that the Carnival is fun- you should definitely sign up! It's great to be a part of the community of bloggers who participate.
Nice to meet you, by the way!

At 2:09 PM, Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks, Stacy. I'm going to be hosting the Carnival here on January 2nd, when I talk about my New Year's Resolutions, as a migraneur. lol Good to meet you, too. lol This is jsut getting to be way too much fun. I better go take my BP. lol jk


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