For first-timers stopping by my blog: welcome! I am currently participating in a course offered by WordPress’s Blogging University called Blogging 101: Zero to Hero. Each weekday, I’ll be writing based off of an assignment posted for the class.
Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!
I’m still here! I’ve been pretty swamped with work at the lab (it’s grant season, y’all), but I’m hoping to make more quiet writing time this weekend.
Before I move onto the next five assignments, I wanted to make sure I gave some love to Day Nine’s. It took me a while to decide which post to elaborate on, but I ultimately chose the one by Journey of a Tired Heart. Having been over two weeks since I last read the post, I went back to read it again. This time, I also read the post by Heart Sisters in order to fully understand the context. I’d really recommend both reads, as they include interesting perspectives from both sides of the coin: patient and physician.
I recently visited my own primary care physician. I waited a little over an hour to see her, but was in and out of her office within around 10 minutes. As soon as my physician entered the room, she apologized for the wait and explained that she was behind schedule that day. She immediately started going down a literal list of routine questions, and I remember feeling both intimidated and apologetic about asking any further questions.
I don’t blame my physician at all. I understand that a single appointment can cause the others behind it to back up in a nasty domino effect. It was my problem, feeling as though I was burdening her with my check-up; I’m likely healthier than a lot of her other patients, and she was clearly in a rush. It wasn’t until I was on my way home that I wondered why I felt this way. Was I doing a disservice, not only to myself, but also to my physician by not asking the questions I needed answers to?
Physicians are our partners in health. Why do so many of us become ashamed and/or reserved when we meet them? We go to them for help, yet we don’t always fully voice what we need help with. They certainly can’t read our minds. On the flip side, should physicians understand the difficulty that their patients feel in engaging with them, and make an extra effort to present themselves or phrase statements differently? Does the problem stem from both ends of the relationship?
I had the pleasure of attending one of Dr. Peter Ubel’s seminars that really highlighted the existence of these sorts of issues. He also revealed a lot of interesting data from his research that pointed out similar topics mentioned in Heart Sisters’ post. For instance, how you present survival rates of a procedure could drastically change a patient’s decision in receiving it:
A) There is a 90% survival rate.
B) There is a 10% mortality rate.
They both mean the exact same thing, but guess which sentence individuals were more receptive to? It’s A. Incredible, isn’t it? Who knew that simple syntax could come into play when making some of the most important decisions of your life? It’s both fascinating and terrifying. By the way, you can learn more about Dr. Ubel’s book here, which I also thought to be a thought-provoking (and bonus: also humorous!) read.
I still think there’s a long way to go, both with myself and with patient/physician relationships, in general. But I’m very happy to see that people are being mindful of these issues and continuing to ask questions about them.