Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Trip to the Clinic

I went to see my doctor today, I had had some routine testing done - nothing wrong, nothing expected to be wrong, but just to check everything out. Normally my visits to the doctor are very short. I know that there is this idea that because I'm fat and because I'm disabled that I am a burden on the health care system but in reality I see the doctor only a few times a year and then only for a few minutes. My doctor is very thorough and always inputs my results into the computer so that when he's talking about my 'sugar' or my cholesterol, I can see from the graphs how my health is over time. It's cool.

This time though, I had a question for him. I'm not going to write about it here because it's personal, so after he finished reviewing my tests - everything good to go, I asked him. He asked me a few things to ensure he understood my concerns and my intent and then we had a conversation. I felt respected. I felt he was interested. I felt that I was listened to. I felt like he was willing to spend the time necessary to make sure that we covered, in all the detail I wanted, the issue I'd raised.

On my way out I thanked him for being the kind of doctor that I felt that I could talk with. He was embarrassed, I could tell, but I still wanted him to know that the time he took with me mattered to me. Too, the attitude of interest and attention mattered even more. I left with things to think about and with the information I needed in order to be able to muse properly.

I'm writing this because I was reminded, again, by example of how to 'be' with people who have questions, needs or concerns. I am the one who sits on the other side of the desk, on the pen side of the report, on the opinion side of a matter.

It was important for me to be listened to, with interest but without judgement.

It was important that I didn't feel that the rush of people waiting press through my doctors words.

It was important that information be given in such a manner that I could understand it - free of jargon, free of big long medical words.

Maybe it's important for me to do those things too.

Getting service is sometimes the best way of realizing what kind of service to give.

(Please don't read too much into this - I am in good health!)


amber york said...

One of my favorite traits in a person is one who is intellectual, but humble enough to speak on an equal plain to others. It really aggravates me to see people who are intellectual in speech, while obviously getting satisfaction out of using words above another persons head. Great post!

Mike said...

Dave, this is really beautiful. I think this is your sweet spot. You know how it feels when everything is working together at the same time and when you feel most at home writing, how you feel as if you really said what you set out to? I think this is it. Remember what it felt like to write this and I think you can come back to that point anytime. That's what I try to do and I really count on finding such waypoints, so I thought I would ask if this is how it felt to write this particular text. Again, I think it's beautiful.

Jayne Wales said...

If you love your job and what you do then you will want to know how you can help. The people who know their subject can tell you simply what they mean without baffling you.
Trouble is I'd keep going back as I would have enjoyed the experience!

Mike said...

There's a line from the psychedelic band, Vanilla Fudge, something like, "I wish I could see what my eyes see." Just finished reading a Helen Keller book, The Story of my Life, I was telling Dave about it actually. The poetic sensibility there is really amazing. She describes in fairly deep aesthetic terms, I would say, what it feels like to know the world so intensely through the perception of touch. She studied Greek, Latin, German and French and read everything she could get her hands on, no pun intended.

Andrea S. said...

Sorry to be off topic, but I wanted to share some news for the advocates and activists in your readership:

Some of you may know that, for many years, the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) for students with disabilities in Massachusetts, USA, has been using electro shock devices as a form of so-called "treatment". In practice, this is torture. We are at an important turning point in the long battle to end the use of these devices, but we need both individuals and organizations to write letters to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the next few days to ask them to stop the use of these devices at the center.

Learn more about the use of these devices (and why they count as torture, not treatment), and how your letters to the FDA can help at The students subjected to this torture have a range of disabilities including autism, intellectual disabilities, etc. Usually the excuse used to inflict these devices on the student is that they have severe self-injurious behaviors. But this firstly ignores the many successful approaches that have been used elsewhere to reduce self injury without the use of pain and secondly ignores that, once JRC has permission to use the electric devices on a student, they then typically move on to use the device as punishment for many other "behaviors" such as asking to go to the bathroom, or acting upset because another student is in pain from electro shock.

Write your letters. Then please help spread the word about this call for action to your networks. Thank you.