I have spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices over the last several years thanks to my sarcoidosis. I’ve had positive and negative experiences. Today, I was in a new doctor’s office. I was in today for a follow up and the nurse came in and said, “Lisa, I am praying for you. You are on my prayer list. I really hope we can help you and bring you some ease.”
This comment just about brought me to tears. It was heartfelt and sincere. It also came right at a moment when I needed encouragement and kindness. She could not have known this either, because I have become a master of wearing a game face whenever I am at a doctor’s office. This got me thinking about how many truly wonderful healthcare professionals I have met over the years and that so many of them are actually quiet unsung heroes who come into work every day, putting their own problems aside, to care for those who have greater needs. These professionals change lives for the better with a simple smile, a soft touch and warm words of support.
When you have a rare disease, you do meet a lot of healthcare professionals who are dismissive. They act with arrogance, often because a disease like mine stumps them and challenges their education. Some doctors take offense when it becomes obvious that I know more about my disease than they do. Beyond the ego of the white coats though are the condescending, patronizing, hurried nurses. They are the worst. Nurses even more than doctors can make or break an appointment. They often set the tone. Unfortunately, these doctors and nurses tend to get most of the attention from a community like mine, those of us with rare diseases. I know that I am more apt to complain, whine and express frustration over these people. Yet, when I come across a healthcare professional who is not only competent but who is entirely compassionate in their approach with me, I rarely take notice. Yes, of course this is how healthcare professionals should act, but they too are human and they too have a world of their own stresses and problems outside of work.
Today it occurred to me that there are a lot of wonderful people working in healthcare and I have met many who I can tell truly care about me, not just as a patient but, as a person. Rarely have I taken the time to truly appreciate these people. They are simply overlooked and taken for granted but I don’t want to take these lovely people for granted anymore and I believe they deserve, not only my recognition but, also my thanks. So, this blog post is dedicated to everyone I have met who has cared for me over the years and done so with tender loving kindness and with selflessness because professionals like these have made my journey as a patient less frightening, less intimidating and less humiliating.