Dumb things Drs say
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me
Then why do I tend to remember the hurtful, insensitive comment so much clearer than the positive motivating ones? Why is forgiving and forgetting much easier to say than to put into practice?
I expect a level of empathy, compassion and knowledge from other health professionals as I value these qualities in my own practice. My boss is continually reminding us to find the benefit in the situation. I admit I can only reflectively do this at the best of times and often still feel charged and irritated about the moment.
Here are my top insensitive quotes*, I have ingrained in my memory, by health professionals:
*please note this is how I remember them.
‘Maybe it's your faith making you sick’ – Anesthesiologist before going in for my thymectomy.
‘You will never get better unless you stop all your medication and follow my advice’ - GP when I refused to take unknown antibiotics
‘oooh, I have never had a patient like you before! How do you spell Myasthenia Gravis?’ - new GP
‘It's such a pity you are not in crisis, I have never seen that before’ - GP
‘Don't sit down, I don't want to take the risk of treating you’ – Dentist
‘If you put your mind to it, your body will heal itself’ - Chiropractor
‘Having MG is not that bad, at least you’re not dying.’- Occupational Therapist
‘Oops. I didn't realise that your MG would react to the prescription’ - GP after almost landing in ICU due to incorrect medication. Full history and a current prescription list were given in the initial consultation.
Just thinking about these moments makes my blood boil!
But was has it taught me?
- to be a bit more thick-skinned
- realise that most health professionals don't know much about MG and take the opportunity to spread awareness
- to check all my medications for side effects, even supplements
- to find a good treatment team I can trust
- to stand up for myself and my rights as a patient
I also have to appreciate the comments that I receive that are uplifting and positive and focus in these instead of letting the bad be reinforced.
‘Let me know how you are doing, phone or email and I will get back to you’ - Dr Shamley, Neurologist, who fights my medical aid battles and always phones me back.
‘Tell me about your experience with MG. You are an individual and I want to help your specific needs’ - Dr. Bianca De Canha, Homeopath
‘Its not a quick fix, but we are willing to walk this road with you, no matter what you decide’ – Dr. Adam Sayers, Chiropractor
‘ I will take the best care possible with you’ - Anaesthesiologist, before my wisdom tooth removal. Post op she even contacted me at home two days later to check I wasn't flaring
‘ Let's take it step by step, let me know how you are feeling so we can set your programme at the right level for you’ - Sandy Lord, Physiotherapist
‘Your going to be a great group therapist’ – Louise Fouché, Occupational Therapist
‘You are who you are! Don't let anyone take your uniqueness away’- Tania Buys, Occupational Therapist
When rereading the above positive comments I can feel my anxiety drop, my breathing slow. It is so true what you focus on will determine your attitude.