Monday, May 14, 2012

Walking in our shoes

I often wonder (whine) about why people don't 'get it'. These are the people who tell us what we should do and how we should feel in terms of our medical issues. They mean well but don't get it. I have seen people make a quick U turn when they get a similar icky medical diagnosis. All of a sudden they realize all us cancer people aren't lying, wimpy, or lazy. We really hurt, are scared, confused, stressed,  and feel like crap.

There is some adage about 'walking in their shoes' and it is very true. Until you try it, you don't get it.

In addition to individuals, I think every company which makes any pharmaceutical drug, medical device, or provides any services, should have on their staff or as a consultant, someone who is taking their medication, has the ailment it is designed to treat, or uses their services. They need to take a step back and look at it from the perspective of the people they serve.

The hospital I go to has very conveniently designed the two departments that provide the most services to cancer patients, in the  farther corners of the hospital. They are a good ten minute walk if you are healthy. A lot longer if you aren't. Your architects need to talk to the patients here. Their architects must believe in the benefits of a daily walk.

I listen and read carefully all the information provided to patients. So much of it is crap. Crap would cover the 'I have a cure for your cancer and if you send me $5000 USD, I'll send it it you' as well as the scripted interviews and ads from manufacturers or other providers. Some of this I know is legal department sanitized, marketing spin that aligns with the corporate image that was developed through a long drawn out process involving multiple ad and PR agency meetings billing huge fees. None of this helps us. If they skipped the big buck consultants and looked at it from the patient side, maybe they might start to get it.

There are lots of us out there. There are lots of ways to find us if they go out of their little shell of corporate America. Maybe stop spending all that money on fancy packaging and employee perks and start spending a little of it on trying to walk in the shoes of the people you are trying to treat.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

Your first paragraph really spoke to me, Caroline. I could not believe how painful it was to have people downplay or dismiss (or frankly ignore) some of the things I was going through during treatment. It isn't whining to acknowledge it. Cancer can be a profoundly lonely experience. Thanks for raising some good points about the things that are bothering many of us.