The Ideal Medical Visit

I know, I know this is more than a little strange. There is never *really* an ideal medical visit. Because ideally you would never have to make such a visit! But that just adds to the fun of dreaming things up, and perhaps in doing so I can offer some tips however wishfully thought up:

1. Clear Communications. 
There have been loads of times when during the appointment I am asked "where does it hurt? what does the pain feel like?" And I am dying to give my honest opinion: I have a headache the size of Russia. Or maybe it burns like I am laying in the Sahara desert and every time I move it feels like someone smothering my leg in shattered glass. But I can't say those things, and I have never described my pain in words other than the ones medical professionals have suggested to me: Sharp pain? Dull pain? Does it come and go? Granted it would probably be incredibly inefficient if I were allowed to describe the pain in my quirky creative way... but sometimes I just wish I could say exactly what I have perceived to be wrong in my own language and through my own perceptions.

2. Open Ears.
Along with that is being able to speak without fear of being judged. Sure, medical professionals ask us questions and as their patients we know that our words will be confidential.. but what we say is not shielded or privy from judgement. "Have you been walking with your cast on?" Well... I've been putting pressure on it, but not necessarily walking... Except we all know that the honest answer is "yes I have been walking on it. No I have not been resting in bed. Do I look like a statue to you?!" "Can you bend your arm this way?" No not really all the way I can't. And what I would actually, really want to say is: "No I can't and thanks for the reminder. Instead of sitting there making disconcerting grunts how about you help me bend it that way?" In other words, many times, I find myself holding back what I would actually like to say for fear of the disappointing response I may potentially get in return.

3. No Doubts.
Wouldn't it be great if there were never any doubts in any medical case, decision, or treatment regimen? If we take away the doubts and uncertainty of medical practice I think it would not longer be called "medical practice" it would be called "medical decisiveness." I think a part of the idea is that we practice healing, treatments, and addressing symptoms - learning as much as we can about the human body, and about the lives of patients in an attempt to try and make each of us healthy or well again. "We won't know how strong she will be until after the rod operation and she begins walking again." Or "if we set the fracture with pins and rods, it may correct any potential bowing that might occur later on." So much of medical appointments hinge on uncertainty and doubts that I think in my fantasy world if we were to do away with them.. just think about how much more time you could really consider the next cast color.

4. No Waits.
I'm not sure this needs a whole ton of explaining. We wait in the waiting room. For the x-ray to be snapped. For the cast to dry. For the bone to heal. For the prescription at the pharmacy. We wait for the anesthesia to kick-in. We wait for the lab tests to come back. We wait and we wait; for me, personally, 40% of that waiting is filled to the brim with anxious worrying, and 60% of that waiting is laden with hope.

5. Decide with Certainty.
This is similar to the issue of how much "doubt" impact our medical decisions. But here I mean no more of this trial-and-error business. "Let's try this medication, it may lessen the side effect of nausea; or we could go with this other medication that might make you drowsy but you'll only have to take it once a day.." The act of trial-and-error seems to go hand-in-hand with the idea of medical practice. And on the flip side think of all the decisions you, as patients, have had to go home and weigh in your minds. How many times have you wondered has this been done before? Who else has gone through this experience? What should I do? How will I know it'll be the best decision for me? How much of your dread in going to the doctor's office is tied up in knowing you may need to go home with a loaded decision to make? Ideal situation: decisions made with certainty. No dread involved.

6. Wholly Trusting.
Yes I know that it's good for me to walk... but it's so much faster to just zoom around in my power wheelchair. I'm a busy person! If I were to say that to my doctor I'm not sure what his reaction would be. Actually, I'm not sure he would take me seriously. The thing is, I don't trust that he would take my honest wishes with genuine sincerity towards my medical care. And isn't that what so many patients do anyway? Don't we just sometimes ignore what the doctor said and go home to the privacy of our own lives or homes, free to not wear that sling or that brace at night? It's our freedom to think okay, I heard what you've advised and suggested but I'm going to do this instead.

7. No Pain.
This is fairly self-explanatory. The ideal medical visit would never see a tear hit the floor, a scream of agony, or glaring eyes directed at anyone who ever touched a white coat & stethoscope.

8. Treat People.
Sure, I may have been a 3 year-old with O.I. who had taken a fall from her high chair. Yes, I would then need to be in a spica cast for the better part of a year. But let's take into account the fact that I was a 3 year-old who was in pre-school, had some pip-squeak friends, and thought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the coolest creatures to jump-kick on the planet. This meant that I was allowed to participate in as much of pre-school activities as I was able to. It meant my mom would have to turn me every now and then, to make sure I wouldn't get sores while watching t.v. My friends and I turned my spica cast into an art project. The point is that the treatment made sense not just for the incident, and because of my diagnosis - it also was adapted to where I was in life at the time. I am grateful that my medical team understands the backdrop of my life (school, jobs, social life, etc) and is open to meshing any medical care in line with that landscape.

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