'What my Doctor taught me..'
When I first felt ill, I told my parents. I told them my stomach hurt and that I thought I probably had some horrid bug or horredous trapped wind and that I thought I should see the doctor. They encouraged me and I visited the surgery. I visited the surgery a good few more times as my symptoms started to get worse and the pain more intense. My frustration also got worse as I seemed to be fighting a losing battle in expressing just how awful I felt and how seriously it was all affecting me.
I visited the doctor once more, it had taken me over an hour to walk to the surgery (5minutes away). I was ghostly white, had vomitted several times on the way there and was huddled over in pain like i'd just been kicked in my lady parts with a steel toed boot. My doctor panicked and sent me to the hospital, assuming I had appendicitis. Being the idiot I was back then, and not wanting to put anyone to any trouble, I took the bus rather than an ambulance the 40minutes to the hospital, almost passing out several times during the journey.
This then begun the same routine of back and forth frustration, but this time the visits were to the hospital instead of the doctors. I was getting nowhere until I was eventually admitted and got my own consultant. The same consultant i'd see on every visit. This alone was a blessed relief. It meant I didnt have to explain myself everytime I arrived at the hospital, I could chat to this woman who gradually was getting to know me and knew my condition, and more importantly, wanted to help me. She explained that although I answer all her questions and explain my symptoms, I dont TALK. She told me she thought I held back and down-played what I was going through, she said she could see I was actually in a much worse state than I said I was and that I had to tell her the truth so she could help. She taught me that honesty is the only way. Hearing her say all this was a real turning point for me. I realised she was right and that I DID hold back and keep quiet about how bad I felt. I didnt want to seem whiny, helpless, or worse, to be told it was all in my head and I was being over-dramatic. This couldnt have been further from the truth. I would leave the surgery feeling angry and upset at nothing being done for me, but it started to dawn on me that the reason for that may have had a lot to do with me giving the doctors minimal information to go on, or assuming what they would think of me.
When I did what my consultant told me to, doors (literally) opened for me - she made sure I was seen by a surgeon, she rushed me through various treatments and jumped through various hoops to get me ready for surgery. She fought my case in a room full of surgeons who told her i'd have to wait 6months before being considered for surgery, she got me onto and off the operating table within 3. She essentially was a massive part of saving my life.
Her words have stuck with me so much that I now hold nothing back wheni'm bad and enjoy the times when i'm good. Her encouragement has also helped in my relationships- I hear her refrain of 'Be honest' whenever I say "I'm fine" when i'm not. I try my best to be honest and talk about my illness when I can and cut myself a bit of slack whenever possible. Now be honest, isn't that the best policy?
This post was written as part of WEGO Health #NHBPM - 30 posts in 30 days