Thursday, March 7, 2013
Dumb Things Practitioners Have Said
I have heard terrible stories about dumb things practitioners have said to patients. For me, the worst ones are the ones said to women who are suffering by practitioners who don't know what to do, so they say variations of: "It's in your head."
I hate this for two reasons One, it's paternalistic and dismissive. Two, everything is in your head. Your head is connected to your cancer, arthritis, ulcer, aortic artery, and your nameless pain. And, if you accept the mind body connection and the placebo effect as real, then the head is an integral part of it all.
I have never actually had this happen to me, even though my pain was mysterious and undiagnosed for many years.
The dumbest thing that was said to me was a doctor telling my husband to wait in the waiting room after I had asked if he could join us.
When you're a couple and one of you has pain, it's four hands that are carrying it, and two minds that are bearing it. My husband's presence in the doctor's office not only gives him information, but gives us both a way to share in whatever is to come; and that makes it all a little bit lighter.
For the doctor, I was pain, not a person. And he was treating pain, with chemicals.
I insisted Richard join us. And what could the doctor do but acquiesce.
But it shouldn't have been acquiescence. It should have been recognition that Richard and I are in this together and are each other's ultimate resources when pain puts the lights out.
What dumb things have practitioners said to you and your partner?