#197 Doctors are people too...

In my career as a professional patient, I have met a lot of doctors. Some of these meetings have been horrendous  (like the family doctor who told me to stay at home and do nothing when he couldn't diagnose my joint symptoms - which turned out to be RA, and the neurosurgeon who said "Don't take it so personally, think of it like it's your jacket that's been broken", when I was partly paralyzed after failed surgery) and some of them have been amazing (like the rheumatologist who took me in on short notice and stopped my first RA flare in it's tracks, the neurosurgeon who validated, explained and cured my back pain when everyone else had given up).

When I went on the pilgrimage to Santiago, serendipity would have it that I met a German pain specialist who was doing the pilgrimage at a turning point in his career. The two of us meeting and sharing part of our pilgrimage together turned out to be a blessing in disguise for both of us. Him seeing life through the eyes of a chronic pain patient for a few days, being able to observe what all his patients had explained to him in real life, gave him new meaning in his practice. For me it was a true eye opener to be given an understanding of a doctor's professional thoughts and struggles, and it really helped me to see that doctors are people too! Walking together through the hills of Valencia, we shared our stories and thoughts on chronic pain. I learned more about pain from him than any of my doctors at home in Norway, and the meeting changed my attitude completely.

I realized that my Doctors were really just people who had chosen a challenging profession and were doing the very best they could. When a computer engineer has a bad day and makes a slip up at work, no-one dies because of that. But oh my God, what about the neurosurgeons? Just because someone has completed a medical degree doesn't mean that person stops being human! Today, I trust and respect the doctors I meet. If one of them acts really weird or says something I feel is wrong, I put it down to a bad day, and get a second opinion. I don't take it personally. I don't have to like all the doctors I meet, I can take their advice or leave it. But I can do my best to be a good patient to ensure that we're both doing the best we can.


  1. Thanks from writing from your own perspective;"I don't take it personally" f.ex..
    I'm totally fed up with people who says"just think the pain away"..and I disagree with a lot of your wiews..well-disagree isn't the right word..but I am sooooooo tired of "quick-fixes" peoople need to share..at least you don't push it on us other living in the hell chronic pain is..(it is above all VERY various seriousness-both in the illness and the pain)therefore the "I"-way you'r sharing..because I have'nt the strenght anymore to just think:"Oh,the doctor had a bad day"when he/she says something thats ruin my day..NO,I can't just let it go anymore..I cry. I've tried most of your methods through twenty years-exept the part with pilgrim-travels and some of the exercise-only the things money or my body have stopped..and I have really tried e v e r y method it feels like-and tenthousands dollar(hundretusener av kroner)over twenty years..For the most;the last couple of years I feel I have to trow in the towel-and do the best of my very few little moments with happiness..Accept my destiny. (I hope you understand my writing-I'm Norwegian like you :) I'm happy for you-and wish you luck and still lots of happiness.

  2. Hello Anonymous.
    I understand what you're saying, and agree. I also hate people who push their solutions and me, and I don't believe in "quick fixes".

    Being chronically ill, disabled and in pain all the time is the closest to hell that I can think of. You're trapped in a body that doesn't work, which is punishing you constantly. It is simply torture and there is absolutely nothing positive about it. What I'm trying to do with this blog is "share my strengths, not my weaknesses" - but I promise you I've done - and do - a lot of grieving and complaining too.
    Sending you many good thoughts and healing hugs.

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