Monday, November 18, 2013

I Am Not A Mark

I am not a disease.

Although when I enter your hospital, or office, or outpatient center, you may refer to me as one. You may lump me together with an odd set of symptoms, or signs. You will define me with those antiquated terms. You will pretend that you will know how I, my body, will react when placed under certain stressors. You will prescribe treatments for my disease, and yet leave me out of the equation.

You know, me, the me that the rest of the world sees when I am outside the obtuse boarders you have created. Only a milifraction of my life occurs in your realm. The labels you give, the actions you take, have consequences. They may determine my physiologic or economic well being.

Are you listening?

I am not a checklist.

You may use one when deciding whether my treatments are covered. You may question my doctor, read him the riot act. You will say that I don't fit your algorithms. I do not adhere to your guidelines.

Diseases follow a pattern, unlike every other aspect of human behavior, they are quite predictable. Why should I be different from any other? Why should my pain and suffering be unique? Require unique solutions?

I am not a mark.

My suffering was not meant for your exploitation. I see your commercials on television. People with my disease run through angelic fields with smiles on their faces. I don not live here. I do not run when my body aches and my mind is numb.

You ride in like a saviour and ride out with my wallet strapped on your back. You offer false prophesies. Some of your drugs, injections, and sprays truly save lives. Others are crap.

Must you treat them as one and the same? Just to make money?

I am a human being.

My disease is part, not the whole of me.

Lift your eyes from your tired misconceptions, your white washed guidelines, and your market driven economies.

And look at me.


Maggie said...

This, exactly, is why I'm meeting a doctor tomorrow whose practice sounds like what you've described for your own. I am not a widget.

Thanks so much for this.

Anonymous said...

Every nurse, doctor and technician plus the receptionist who hands the board over with the 43 questions that none match your needs, and with a bored voice, saying "fill in and return to this desk".......... should be reading this every month of their working career. I was one of those nurses once, but like to think I added the clause, then you can ask me yours.

Anonymous said...

Reading this every month? Every day. This is one of the best written articles I've seen in ages. I wish it could be published.

I've got too many doctors like this. I'm not a cookie cutter presenter.


Doctor Which said...

What has happened to the medical profession? Do doctors really want to be like this?
Where is the enthusiasm that comes from a human doctor making a difficult diagnosis or a complex complex treatment plan that really works and revolutionises a patient's life quality or even saves their lives?
We gave that to the machines and protocols. I hope they are happy and satisfied.
Meanwhile, we human doctors lose our skills of history, observation, examination and even thought. Many modern doctors, made mundane by the academics, the scientists and technology of medical school and teaching hospitals are losing those abilities. They are losing the potential that orevious doctors had in their personal skills and acumen. They save lives.
And when science is inadequate for a complex situation or technology errs, they do not have those skills to save the patient.
When I talk of the worldview of the traditional clinician, youthful students of all healthcare professions gather round enchanted by what they could and should become, what the majority of doctors used to become. They no long know that world. They are just left with the disatisfaction of a hard job done to a mundane standard.