So where were you when the space shuttle blew up, the World Trade Centers fell, or you found out you had cancer? There are some things that are indelibly etched on our brains - when the clocks stopped for a second and everything shifted and you knew things would never be the same?
I was at a support group this week and someone brought up how mad she still was at her doctor's office over a year later for having the nerve to tell her over the phone about her diagnosis. And it wasn't the doctor who called but his physician's assistant. Later this week was an article (as part of the breast cancer smother that take place in October annually) on how this doctor breaks the news about cancer diagnosis.
Since I have been in these shoes twice now, I think I have an informed opinion. I can tell you exactly where I was both times - actually lying in bed for both so I guess no more lying in bed ever. The first time I was in post op recovery and the surgeon came to tell me. The second time I was lying on the bed, in a post surgery nap, and the surgeon called. It was about 430 pm if you want to be exact on May 30, 2007.
I think from a patient's point of view, everyone has their own opinion. Personally, I want to be told as soon as they know. Its news about me so don't hold back. I don't mind this in a phone call (but please make sure I'm not driving when you give me the news) so I can digest it and mull it over and research the crap out of it on (scare myself silly, convince myself I'll be dead next week, and generally drive myself insane) before coming in for a doctors appointment to discuss options in a sane and lucid manner. I think the doctor in the article is very compassionate and caring about how she calls when. However I am not sure I want a call at night. I prefer to think that after 6 pm no one will call with bad medical news and I am safe for another day.
But this brings up my point: everyone is different on how they want news, when they want it, and who should tell them. So speak up and tell them how you want news. If you go for a test/biopsy/surgery/procedure (my favorite word), a responsible patient should ask:
- when will the results be ready
- when can I expect to hear
- how can I expect to hear
I always ask. I also have no problem calling my doctor's office to ask if the results aren't ready when they tell me they will be. But I also have no problem screening a call if I am not in a good place to get the results. If that is going to be etched in my brain forever, I better be someplace I can deal and don't mind remembering.
Now I am done blabbing for the day. I have promised my husband waffles for breakfast (he doesn't know they are whole wheat ones made as healthy as possible) and then we are going to play mini golf, go for a walk and get some apples and a pumpkin because America buys pumpkins on Columbus Day Weekend. Then we all carve them on October 29th or so and admire them for 2 hours on Halloween and then off they go. Actually, my pumpkin should just be called 'Soup' because that's where it will end up.
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