Thursday, 18 July 2013

Trying to be the perfect patient.

The oxygen lady (I'm sure that was her name) came to the house yesterday to make sure that everything was working with my oxygen compressor and tanks. She checked my oxygen levels and asked me how often I am using the oxygen. I paused to think about how to phrase that I use it only when exercising or when it is crazy humid despite what it says on her sheet about my needing it every day. She filled the silence by saying 'a bit every day...?' to which I agreed while my partner sat in the background rolling his eyes.

Why do I always do this? Why do I always say what I think they want to hear instead of what I am actually doing?  I know I shouldn't. I know this makes their job harder. I know this makes it more confusing when trying to figure out. Ie - "you say you never miss a dose of your calcium but your levels are showing low so we should double your dosage..." Well, maybe "never missing a dose" wasn't entirely accurate.

So yes, I need to be better at telling the medical professional what is actually happening instead of what would be the ideal. Why do I do this? I have a theory where it is not completely due to my need to be liked by everyone.

The theory: I have been meeting and talking to doctors and other medical people my entire life. I know what they want to hear. I know that the dietitian wants to hear that I eat 3 meals a day with snacks, the physiotherapist wants to hear that I exercise regularly. I could tell you exactly what they will say if I say something otherwise. Telling them what they want to hear prevents me from listening to the same speech about how I need to eat and exercise more. It is my way of trying to make the appointments shorter and to avoid lectures. It is also my way of wanting to be the perfect patient and not wanting them to see me in a 'negative' way.

I'm sure I am not the only person who does this (why yes dentist, I do floss every day) but I am trying to be better at telling people when I am not following their regime. For the professionals, if the patient pauses for a minute to think about the answer, do not automatically fill the silence. I know silence can be scary and awkward but just let the person answer the question on their own time. You making suggestions or filling in the gap will just allow the person to agree with whatever you say which may not be accurate.

In the end, the oxygen lady was pleased with my stats but still gave me the spiel on the benefits of using oxygen every day. So much for avoiding the lecture! Just like with the dentist, I acknowledged she was right, vowed to do things differently, and I'm sure in 2 weeks I will be back to my old habits.

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