Buttons. Buttons. We all have buttons, but do you have more buttons available for pushing because you live with lupus?
Do you react strongly when people question your right to park in a disabled parking place because you don’t look disabled?
Do you anger having to explain your condition or needs to unknowing physicians simply to get treatment you have a right to?
Do you try to control your reaction yet fail most of the time
So much of the time I don’t even try to explain. I either answer with a direct hit for the stupidity directed at me, or walk away without acknowledging the idiots behind the words. I don’t try to explain to anyone who doesn’t matter simply because they don’t matter and neither does their opinion.
I really don’t care about the opinions of physicians who don’t treat me on a regular basis, such as the one whose first words to me were, “I don’t believe all that stuff about lupus patients not being able to be in the sun.” Really dude? I walked out without trying to educate him. It would have been a waste of my time and pointless.
However, there are physicians outside of my normal team from whom I need treatment. When seeing them I find myself in the position of having to explain and educate. I don’t however, let him or her have control of my buttons. I try not to let anyone control my buttons other than me. I’m not always successful, but when I feel failure on the horizon, I try the following 10 tips.
- I state the facts about my condition.
- I provide my current treatment plan.
- I provide a written list of my medications and allergies.
- I provide a list of my physicians (all of them) including names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- If I’ve had prior treatment for the problem, I provide that and the expected results
- I offer other options if I am familiar with any.
- I take a deep breath and remember I know more about this disease than most physicians because I live with it. I certainly know more than they can know about how the disease affects me.
- I suggest sources for educating the physician.
- I remain respectful.
- I always remember that I have the right to say no to any treatment.
I wasn’t always able to do this. There was a time, or two, that I totally lost it and threatened a physician with a bed pan. (I won in the diagnosis that time.) But I’ve grown. I’ve learned. I’ve realized that they, the physicians, only know what they know and most of them sincerely want to help. I’ve also realized that I know more about my condition than they ever will. When I’ve done all of this I also realized that this could be my opportunity to enlighten and educate a physician. After all, I can hope that everyone, including physicians, learn from their experiences.
I may have buttons but I get to control who has access to them.
From the life and mind of Wanda M. Argersinger
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