Last week for the first time in 6 years I set foot in a hospital. I traded in my old hospital for a bit more comfortable and modern place in the east part of Holland where I now live. It wasn’t until I walked in that I realized how much I had been avoiding this place and that if it hadn’t been for a very persistant doctors assistant, I probably never would have again.
You see a couple of years ago they were trying to think of all different ways to cut back the cost of healthcare. Doctors were asked to reduce their patient time to no more then 5 minutes a patient…well they were allowed to take longer but wouldn’t get paid for it by the insurance companies who pretty much run healthcare. This initiated something that is called practice support nurse. It is a person that does all the things a doctor no longer has time for: check bloodpressure, follow up on diabetic patients, etc etc. The thing you do not really need to see the doctor for, but do need to be monitored.
So since I was registered as taking medication for Conn syndrome, I too was asked to visit this nurse. As someone that has been trying to stay away from healthcare, I avoided the appointment as much as I could, but I have to say, she was relentless and wouldn’t give up. When I politely refused any offer to come in, she found other ways to talk. She would call me, find my files and finally after calling me for what must have been about the 20th time (no lie), I felt sorry for her and went in for her to measure, weigh and pressure me. She had not really heard of Conn syndrome. Nor was she aware I had it. Like many people she assumed weight was at the essence of my bloodpressure problems when it wasn’t.
To make a long story short, after this one visit I again refuse to be of any help to her pleas for working with her. But I guess she approached it in a way that was hard to refuse. When I wouldn’t come in to her appointments, she referred me to the doctor, when I refused to go into the doctors office she referred me to the hospital. After haunting me for two years…I caved. She did the one thing that was hard for me to refuse: she pre-booked an appointment. I still tried to refuse it by rescheduling for a couple of times but the inner justice in me, would not allow me to stand the doctor up. It was funny how the specialists assistant would try to ‘punnish’ me for rescheduling the appointment last minute, by putting me way on the back of the list and thus later in time. It must have frustrated the hell out of her for me be so happy about postponing it because it was ofcourse more then fine with me! Apparently most people don’t like to wait long to see a doctor. So after two years of refusing, and three months of stalling, I walked into the sliding doors of the Rijnstaete hospital. Immediately I remembered why I had avoided it and a shiver ran down my spine in pure terror.
Thoughts of years of going in and out of the hospital talking to people who had no real clue what to do with me, came rushing back together with the sensations in my body. I realized not only how much I detested doctors and hospitals but was struck by the way that these people see themselves as gods on the operating tables, claiming to have ultimate knowledge over your body, but also that I was now able to see how ridiculously backward there ways were.
We have advanced in every technological field possible so fast that even 5 years ago seemed technologically ages ago…however healthcare had not changed much. In a way they are still the butchers that cut open your body and put needles in you and through a very insufficient process gain knowledge of the nutrients within it. To what is really possible in this day and age, it almost seems so backward like we now talk about when a 200 years ago doctors would saw off limbs and physically draining your blood when you have the flue.
Few people really wonders these things when they are diagnosed by a doctor. Because when the doctor says it, it must be true. Nobody wonders why it seems right to attack and pretty much kill the body in order to kill cancer. Why there is a drug for almost everything, but no real cures. Why doctors get paid so much if all they do is write a pill that you can easily find yourself by searching the internet. Why do we assume that writing these pills is a miracle and best solution. Why cutting us open is the ultimate solution to any problem that won’t go away. Why food and diet are not a part of there training when even a car won’t run on the right fuel.
These questions came up in me 25 years ago when I first walked into a hospital…what I felt was irrelevant…what the scan said was……how in the world can we learn to listen to our bodies when not only our parent but later also doctors tell us: “no madam, what you are feeling is not there…we have no indication in our labresults that there is anything wrong with you”… And we are suppose to take that as truth even though are bodies might be screaming that something is NOT right.
How simple would it be to say: I am sorry madam, your experience is very real, however nor my training or my equipment is advanced enough to diagnose it…. But in essence that IS the way it is. As you can feel from these words, fifteen years of talking to doctors who claim you are wrong and they are right and finally having to swallow their words because things finally got so bad that it DID show up, have left its marks on my belief in doctors and overal faith in healthcare.
So going back to this place and seeing all these people in there that seemed to look so sick while no one was asking the question; aren’t they suppose to make me feel better, instead of worse? I was not looking forward to another doctor teling me what to do and what pills to shuff down my throat. So with my body all stiff and in total defense in the waiting room, I realized something important. When the body goes offense or defense, it is fighting against something. I knew this something was in me. This time I had the problem and I did need healing. But not from medication but from the wrought feelings that were left on my heart from all the pompousness of doctors that are happy when they are able to diagnose you in a box, instead of heal you.
I could feel the anger towards all doctors and beneath that, the fear of rejection, of not being taken serious and to be treated like a machine instead of a individual. This time I needed the healing and I had to allow myself to believe it was possible and that there were doctors that had the best in mind and were willing to listen and explore wishes.
I heard a young and very loving voice talk on the phone in an examining room nearby. “no I understand very well…. It is ok… I know you don’t understand. But that is what I am hear for. To help you and remind you so that we can help you get better”. The call was ended after a few more assurances with what I am sure was a need for calming a very trouble patient. The chair moved and a young woman walked out of the room and called my name. She looked to me as, what can only be described as light. A voice of a friend ran through my head there are a lot of new doctors that are different, things are changing!/em>;;;.
Her light was bright enough for me to admit my fear and resentment…. And she understood..and so did the assistant that made another appointment with another doctor I had to see…and she wrote on the referral: this lady want a really sweet and loving doctor or none at all… I smiled and knew: I am not here to cure my Conn syndrome, I am here to see that things change if I change. Doctors are humans and it takes me to see them as such and treat them as such for this system to change. They are the enemy if I make them the enemy..but in reality all they can be is a reflections of my own thoughts and fears that I didn’t acknowledge. I have to learn to be honest, speak my truth and admit my fear…that is all they were showing me. Thank you doctors of the world… for helping me find a cure!