Please Pay Attention
would a neon sign work??

Greetings, folks!! I’m hosting another edition of the Patients for a Moment carnival. Each month a host solicits submissions on an illness-related theme. No need to suffer from a chronic illness yourself!! If you care for someone you love who has such an illness or if it’s your job to, we welcome your perspective as well. We’re here as much to complain about life as we are to learn about it.

This month’s theme is: getting the attention you need. In the hustle and bustle of medicine and healthcare, it’s easy for patients with long-term (and confusing) illnesses to be dismissed. We know that we’re hard to comprehend, and we’re not an easy problem to be solved. How do you get your healthcare practitioner to take you seriously and give you the time and attention you need?

As human beings, we like quantifying things, simplifying data in a way that streamlines the process of understanding it. Those simple questions: how would you rate your pain on a scale from 1 to 10? or what’s your birth date? or let’s see how much you weigh today. Do they really capture the magnitude of the problem? I’ve had doctors obsess about the fact that I keep losing weight or the fact that I’m “too young to feel this sick” so therefore I must be another whiny teenage girl. There are ways in which people try to quantify or rationalize illness that obscure a lot of things. They’re useful for figuring out whether someone sprained their ankle or broke it but perhaps not so useful in other situations.

pay attention to me mister
eyes on me
NOW

What do you do? How can you bring information to the table or be a cooperative patient without being dismissed? Besides firing impossible practitioners, what are strategies that you’ve developed?

Everyone is welcome to share a blog post reflecting on “getting the attention you need”. To participate, please email me at abigail.cashelle (at) gmail (dot) com with the title and blog url of your post by June 12. Please include PFAM in your subject line.

The final edition will be showcased here on June 15.

Remember: no submission is too small or big. I can’t wait to hear & to learn from you.

Happy writing!!

Abigail Cashelle

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