Friday, April 22, 2011

How I deal with the medical establishment

How to deal with the medical establishment is the topic proposed for the current ChronicBabe Blog Carnival.

Annie blogged about health care; I don't think I am emotionally or psychologically prepared to talk about health care right now. Going through what I went through to obtain health care, what I go through to maintain it, and what I sacrifice in my life to keep it has made me develop some severe anxiety. So not ready to blog about that. Instead, I'll give my profound and sage advice on dealing with New Doctors, Baby Doctors and Hospital Stays.



New Doctors
Throughout my life thus far I have had eight (including my current) cardiologists. I've always had a chip on my shoulder in regards to meeting new doctors; my bravado is what I use to size up the new white coat in my life and I see who will take my crap, who won't and who will dish it back at me.
This is an attitude I have carefully cultivated over the course of my life because it is the only way I can push the fear aside and let things be all right. My humor is my shield against the cruel realities of my health and I use it generously because the alternative is to hide under the covers and cry. That is not a long-term answer. Being a borderline ass is something we can all deal with, though.

Remember: Like many a-thing in the wild, doctors are more scared of you than you are of them. Look them in the eye, give them a firm shake of your hand and be vocal, open and honest about absolutely everything in your life, regardless if it pertains to your health or not. They need to sniff you out and realize you are a creature to be respected as well!

Baby Doctors
The only people who I never mouthed off to as a kid were the student doctors - those pesky little shits who, without a friendly "Hi, how are you today, little girl whose name I can't bother to remember? Do you mind if I listen to your heart?", would just come at me with their cold stethoscope and have a go at listening to my unique heart.

These people needed a slap of respectable bedside manner lessons and by the time I reached my late teens, I wasn't having it anymore. If any of them came at me with so much as a flashlight I held up my hand and made them introduce themselves to me, shake my hand and ask my permission to manhandle me. Then we'll get along real nice. :)

Hospital Stays
- Label everything you own and send what you can home. Tie a string around your wrist and the drawer you keep your belongings in so if some snoopy prick decides to rummage through your goods you can catch them in the act (I once had a pair of PJs and a book about the Poky Little Puppy stolen. I am still bitter about it twenty years later)

- As soon as you are admitted, demand to see a menu for the next day's meals and fill it out as soon as possible. TRUST ME; you're going to get the left overs of a hard boiled egg, prune juice and stale, dry wheat toast otherwise.

- Always go for the green Jell-O

- Never be afraid to just say NO to student nurses who want to try and take your blood.

- Always ask if the Super Nintendo or whatever game system they have lying around can be wheeled in to your room and hooked up.

- Always bring the essentials from home: Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair ties and hair brush. You will feel less gross.

- If you're too cold, ask to have a heated blanket...or three.

- If your room has a dry erase board, leave little messages of appreciation to your nurse. Buttering her up can have massive bonus points, especially when your fighting your roommate for control of the TV.

- Always take a souvenir to remind you of your stay. Here's mine from last year's heart catheter:

This is how I deal with the medical establishment; with irreverence and petty larceny.

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