Well, once again, here I am expounding the ups and downs of this disease called lupus. The big bad wolf (as it is also known) has taken a big bite out of me lately by keeping me close to my bed and not allowing me to have energy for but a few moments at once. All in all, it has been tough this last five days or so. In keeping with the promise to tell the good with the bad and ugly, I am writing this blog today to share some really good news!
Today was a decent day. I have been out of bed most of the day. Albeit, I have been on the couch for most of it, but I was out of bed! This is a considerable victory for me because a few days ago, it took all my energy just to get to the bathroom. I even babysat my grand Courtney Scarlett for two hours while her mom took my grandson to see the doctor. She is good medicine for me (as are all of my grands). She sat quietly on the couch and watched Dora and Team Umizoomi with Meemaw.
I have found that, contrary to popular belief, children are quite intuitive about adults. In my experience with my grandchildren, I have found that they know when I can or cannot be more active with them. My grandchildren have seen their grandmother in the hospital, taking many pills daily, in bed, on the couch, and basically flat on my back so many times that to them it is a normal thing that I am not able to do much physically with them. On the rare occassions when I am able to do more than my “normal”, they are astonished to see their Meemaw running or jumping or being silly. I have tried not to upset them by having them see me give myself injections of meds, or the pain when I move or walk, etc., but they have learned from infancy that this meemaw cannot do things and they accept me as I am.
It is an amazing thing that children can accept you as you are and love you still, yet most of the world at large seems to not be able to accept you as someone with a disease that doesn’t show. Most try to put you in a category of any of the following: fat/skinny, lazy, attention seeking, hypochondriac, doctor shopping, pill popping, all in your head, making it up, oh please; types of things so they can justify making fun of you or dismissing your illness altogether. We have all had this in some form or another in our disease process. It can even include doctors we are looking up to for help and healing.
I am going offtrack now but on to a rant of mine so here goes…
Ok, here is a tidbit about me. I love to watch the television show “Mystery Diagnosis“. Do you know why? It is because there are many more people out there who have serious and debilitating diseases that have been in the same boat as many of us lupies. They have been to many different doctors, who have told them any number of things and even dismissed them altogether, only to find that one rare gem of a doctor who listened and put it all together.
On this show, I heard a comment from one of the doctors who had helped one of these people to find the correct diagnosis and was treating the patient for it. He made the statement that doctors should know the difference between lumping and sifting. He said doctors should always look at the overall picture (lumping) of the patient and how they present to the doctors versus the opposite by treating each small bit of the disease piece by pice by many different doctors (sifting). For example, if you have lupus, you may have gone to your primary care doctor first, who then referred you to another doctor who treated you for one thing, then sent to another doctor who treated you for another thing, but in the long run, none of them saw the overall picture of the lupus constellation of symptoms. It happens on almost every show on this tv series. It never ceases to amaze me that so many of our doctors out there are just skimming by on the first easy thing they can find to “take care of” the reason for your visits.
I know, there are many good doctors out there. I have several in fact. However, it is by trial and error that I have happened upon them. I really do trust my doctors and the main reason why is that they respect me as a person. If I call or come in to see them, there is a valid reason and they know it. As a former medical professional, I am not some one who is afraid to speak my mind. I have personally “fired” a couple of doctors in my time. I have moved to different states and kept my doctors here in Ohio because I could not find ones who were as qualified and competent as the ones I see here. I have tried to find some, but even if it starts out good, they always seem to let me down by assuming I am some ignorant female who is attention seeking. I have heard that one before. They fail to see that I am sick, truly sick, and only want to be well, or as well as I can be.
The thing I want to stress most emphatically is that we patients are the consumers here. We are the ones who pay the bills. If you are not satisfied with your care, find another doctor. As frustrating as the process may be, in the long run, a doctor who respects you and your feelings is the one you will get the best care from.
One of my doctors that I know as a person as well as a doctor, always gives me hugs when she sees me, either in her office, or in public. She is a nurturing and caring person who believed me when I thought I was losing my mind. She knew that I was not making this stuff up and she kept on until we found out why. We all need and deserve a doctor like this one.
I know, many doctors are overworked and only have a few minutes to give to each patient, however, by being prepared and taking an active role in our medical care, we show them that we are as responsible for our care as they are and a true healer will appreciate us taking that active role. I say beware of those doctors who have a god complex. If they think your ideas or your research or your opinions are of no concern and act like you are silly for any of them, then leave at once and find someone who will take the time and give you their respect. After all, it is YOU who is sick, not them. It can be very enpowering to find where your doctor falls in this equation and enlightening to see how they feel about you and your feelings.
Now what has brought this on, this rant of mine? I read an article that many doctors think patients should not become empowered by researching their diseases and asking questions from this research. Hm… interesting indeed. I think I have made my point on this subject clear. In the meantime, I hope you all find doctors who are genuinely interested in your health and care and give you the respect you deserve. I now will step off my soapbox…