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Tuesday, April 15, 2014



bothers me...Having doctors I trust taking care of my family, who have known each of us for years as individuals, in sickness and health, is a lot more reassuring to me. While people have blind spots, and can sometimes overlook things (i.e.: if they think you a head case, they may first assume that all ailments are "stress" related. on the other hand, having someone who knows you well can really help: they can pick up when you are "off", not yourself, because they are used to your normal mannerisms, tone of voice, posture, etc. Hunches, emotional responses, even reading body language that has changed, and noticing the voice is different--all these things help a good diagnostician. I'm sure that plenty of people with mediocre doctors, or with a ghastly health plan where they are bumped from one low level caregiver to another, and treated with cookbook protocols, these people probably might benefit from this kind of crowd sourced thing (If I understand it).

But I've never thought of groups as especially wise. When God created the world, He didn't do it with a committee. And I've never forgotten the damage it did to our family when we were bullied into discussing the desperate illness of a hospitalize kid in front of a one way mirror with various residents, med students, nurse practitioners, social workers and therapist types. The idea was, it was teaching hospital, and they wanted to learn more about the emotional response of families to the ghastly crisis of kids like ours. They delivered their opinions and responses to what they observed to us in the most incredibly crude, callous and damaging manner. Basically insulting us, blaming us, and completely misunderstanding even our expressions and metaphors. At an already traumatic time, we were given perfectly idiotic and cruel feedback. Virtually all the recommendations were for things that his regular (wonderful) physician had either tried and found ineffective, or had rejected as potentially bad for him and/or the family. It gave me a permanent distaste for teaching hospitals (and it's one of the most famous in the country).

Personally, I'm a cranky type who finds it difficult to trust a caregiver at first (having seen my relatives receive such bad medical care over the years). So when I DO trust a doctor, that in itself is healing and something to be appreciated, and preserved.

However, perhaps it's easy for me to say this since I've never yet had any truly awful diseases. I've self diagnosed almost everything I've ever had, but they've mostly been pretty obvious: things like Lyme, or running injuries, or bronchitis, ear infections...Virtually everyone in my family does a certain amount of morbid reading of clinical journals, etc. when somebody is ill. This usually leads to us being tremendously relieved when we drag the person or ourselves to the doctor to be told that things aren't as dire as we thought....

I do wonder how people with more complicated problems, like chronic injuries or arthritis or addiction or chronic mental illness, would benefit from a group? Those types of things, the most important thing is a strong therapeutic alliance with one person one trusts and can rely on to monitor, raise the alarm and/or offer warmth and compassion when the condition recurs and causes agony that no pills or technology can alleviate. Only kindness and care.

Forgive this lengthy post==don't know why thisHoly Week finds me so dire and deadly serious...

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