It’s been 4 years since my Mother first got sick. Somehow I have managed to be patient while she has been a patient. The truth is, we are patients together. She gets poked, cut, infused, transfused, transplanted and scoped and I marvel at the medical profession and wonder if anyone stops to consider how much one person can take. I can answer that.. Nope! Do you know what I’m thinking right now? This shit is stupid.
I get that our patients become cases to us. Just a series of numbers, labs and images to analyze and match to the treatment plan in the protocol, Up-to-Date or heaven forbid…Dr. Google. Did anyone actually review the scan themselves or just lazily wait until radiology thinks for you? (Sorry we’re having multiple conversations here) Yes people, there are times when you’re trusting your loved to people who have stopped thinking, years ago. Folks relying on “the plan”, but never stopping to read the plan or consider why each step is in place. (Yes, I do think you jumped the gun by calling Oncology. Why are discussing that with me? We have to think together now? Damn!) The plan or protocol can be awesome! It helps you most of the time. Yet there are times when we simply need to think outside of that plan.
So you complete the protocol. You ordered every lab. You update your Chief. You finally present your patient to the team with your focus on sounding good. Your bruised ego gets stroked because your name is sounding great to the team. But does your name sound good to your patient? Umm ……maybe………..not….
Please consider. Someone pays for every step of your treatment plan. Choose wisely. Do you know who pays? If you’re lucky it’s the patient alone, but we don’t live in vacuums do we? Do you know who pays? Entire families, especially caregivers. Caregivers pay Dr. Genius. Someone had to make sure your patient stayed hydrated enough to follow through with your plan. Someone has to drive to the pharmacy three times in one week when you decide to change meds…then decide again. Someone rubs the arms of the blown veins because you forgot to add a blood test after you just sent them for bloods tests. Oops! Someone holds your patient’s hair when they vomit. Someone washes the bed sheets in the middle of the night…again. Someone is missing their Grandmother, Mom, Dad, Uncle, Aunt, Brother or Sister at their birthday, ball game, school event because of the side effects of following your treatment plan. Someone woke up 4 hours before an appointment to get everything prepared to make said appointment for you to give medical advice that makes you look good because your crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s, but you never considered the person.
Someone is hungry right now and it’s me. And so is my Mother. Coincidentally, so is her friend we ran into today who’s caregiving service left her in the lobby with me. They forgot her. Really? How? But she’ll show up to her appointment on time and keep some physician’s schedule intact. Meanwhile, she’s been sitting in a hall confused for 2 hours. But who knows that?
Ask your patient one day what it takes for them to make the appointment with you. You might be surprised. Please consider more than your ego when you develop a treatment plan. That’s actually a human being your planning for with a whole family who had their own plan!