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Doctors & Patients: A Collaborative Relationship

When I developed my chronic condition the first thing that happened to my life was that I started spending a lot more time in my doctor’s office. So much time that I thought I should be collecting frequent flyer points towards a free office visit. Or I should be given my own examining room with a recliner, a stereo system, and wet bar – and stocked with my favorite magazines. The nurses kept telling me they were working on it in the basement. What I received was a lot of time to read novels while I waited and time to think about this relationship that was forming. Through these frequent visits we learned how to work together and formed an excellent working partnership. In a series of posts I will be sharing with you what I believe made our relationship work so well and especially what it was about the relationship that contributed to my healing. Originally I had written a section on what patients need from a doctor and then another section on what patients need to take to the relationship. As I was editing them for posting I realized that our relationship worked because we each brought complimentary qualities, knowledge and skills. We were collaborative partners with a shared goal of controlling my symptoms and increasing my functioning. According to Robin DiMatteo,[i] patients are most satisfied with partnerships rather than authoritarian control by the doctor because partnerships allow us […]

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New Dawn Rose

  The first promise of what was to come on my New Dawn climbing rose. The plant was covered with buds and I anticipated a beautiful show. A week later there was a beauty to the entire space being filled with pale pink roses – but it couldn’t compete with this one individual blossom. Are we the same? Does our […]

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How to Milk a Mare

Before I decided to go to Kyrgyzstan, Sharon told me that she had drunk Kumis, fermented mare’s milk. My immediate response was “Where in the world do you get mare’s milk?” Duh, from a mare. I was intrigued so as soon as I made plans to visit Sharon I told her to see if she could arrange for me to learn […]

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Building Characters

I just finished reading a new post by The Tawny titled Beautifully Designed. Tawny helped me start seeing a solution to a problem I have been wrestling with over the past few days and got my creative juices running. When these two things happen, the only thing left for me to do is write a new post on my blog. First my problem. My daughter got laid off from a job she really loved and this has left her in a lot of pain because no one gets let go without it touching some nerves but it also brought up a lot of pain from a nasty situation that happened a few years ago. As a mother of adult children I know there is nothing I can do to make her pain any less, and this makes me feel really helpless because I want to kiss it and make it all better – like I could when she was little. It happened Monday and all week I have been feeling DARK. To be clear, my daughter losing her job isn’t my problem to solve, but the fact that I feel DARK and all my writing feels DARK is mine. I have tried working on a couple of posts but have walked away from them because they feel DARK. I have reread some of my previous posts and they sound DARK. Why would anyone want to read my posts on the emotional […]

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Who Volunteered Me to be Sick?

In the previous blog, Being Sick & the Sick Role, I shared Parsons’ characteristics of the sick role that included: a) others recognize that the illness is involuntary, that getting sick was not the intention of the person who is sick; b) when people are sick they are exempted from their usual work, family, civic, and other obligations; c) they are expected to not want to be sick and to do what they can to restore their health; and d) are expected to seek competent help and to cooperate in the process of trying to get well. Parson identified these characteristics to help people understand how life is expected to change for people who have acute illness. I believe that having a chronic illness leaves us in a very strange position of both needing to use the sick role, but also needing to very strongly reject it. This blog is about how a chronic illness, especially one that is invisible, can muddy others’ perceptions of whether our illness is involuntary and our intentions. In fact, they can muddy our own perceptions. Susan Wells tells about her experience of trying to get a diagnosis when she was having frightening symptoms and none of the doctors she went to could find anything wrong. She says that she used what little energy she had left after working and taking care of her family to find out what was wrong – which included trying […]

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