Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Game of Crohn's

It's a common aspect of having a chronic illness to spend a lot of time in doctors surgeries and/or in hospitals. 
Unavoidable really then that you will encounter the staff that inhabit and exact the running of these buildings. Doctors and nurses. Maybe even surgeons. 
It's also common that happening upon a bad or simply unpleasant experience with a health professional is one that we as regular patients will encounter from time to time. Myself, I've had many of these. Only one or two however that I would consider 'blogging fodder' - and by that I mean experiences so awful and/or shocking I'd want to wax lyrical about them, for all the world to see. The thought has crossed my mind that why should I, as the tiny weakling of a patient bow down to the power someone in a role so important has over me? 
Shouldn't I go hell for leather and publicise such horrible treatment across social networking sites for all the world to see? 
Well the short answer is no. 
In my humble opinion, mouthing off about a difficult time you've had, with a difficult person, can only do more harm than good. Of course if the experience you wish to speak of is so bad that it's breaking rules of patient/doctor conduct then by all means speak out. But through the right channels. Speak to the persons head honcho. Or complain to the ward sister. Deal with it within the hospital or the health board. 
Posting an inflammatory rant on Facebook, Twitter or your social network of choice may make you feel better for 5minutes but will it solve the problem? Now please, don't get me wrong, I've spent a lot of time in hospitals. I've had countless experiences where i've wanted to scream from the rooftops that something shouldn't be happening, and I've relayed all these stories to my family and friends. So i'm by no means judging anyone who has or may do this. Seeing a few of these posts today alone has just got me thinking that it can be potentially harmful to a much wider bracket than the post-ee may think. 
The advent and attraction of social networking, health forums and such like has also made it part of the norm to post these feelings to the wider world. Conversations are carried out en masse with friends where anyone can stick their opinion in.  
Myself, I used to use these sites to provide updates for my friends on my time in hospital - I'd post funny statuses from 'inside' and announce when I was getting home excitedly. As I still see a lot of you do. That's obviously fine and a great way to update those you don't always feel like texting or calling when you are already weak and tired or utterly forgetful thanks to tons of medication. It's one less thing to worry about when you are already in a big enough state of anxiety about your future out with the ward walls. 
When it becomes health-bashing is where the problem arises. Bear in mind who may see what you are posting. Health communities can be tight knit, and people take advice from others, you don't know what damage your potentially worrying words could be doing to someone reading them. You slating a certain hospital or doctor could cause no end of anxiety to someone about to go through the same thing. I'm not of course implying we sugar-coat everything, but often this doctor- baiting is an aspect of 'competitive suffering' I just can't get on board with. We are all facing this illness together - it's not a race to the finish line it's a case of learning how to cope and face each day without feeling like death to the best of our ability. Where is the sense in pummelling others into the ground for being less worse-off than you? In hospital or without? If you are having a hard time in dealing with your doctor, request another one. Don't put the fear of god into his/her other patients. You may be the common denominator.. 
I'm not preaching we have the most wonderful health care system or the most perfect Mary Poppin's style staff but our NHS is already fragile enough - as are we - don't work at compounding matters for your own irrelevant gain. Put some of that energy into getting well. 

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