Over the past two months I have been through two fairly unpleasant hospital procedures. In June, the doctor biopsied a suspicious area seen on a mammogram. Yesterday, the colorectal surgeon put me through a colonoscopy. Both procedures had good outcomes. The biopsy revealed no cancer. The colonscopy revealed no polyps.
What impressed me the most in both situations was the change in medical personnel from the time I was young. My first experiences of doctors were ones between authorities(the doctors) and the supposedly ignorant(the patients.) Accordingly, the doctors did what they thought they needed to do without explanation. Shots were ordered and given. The most I ever heard was “this is going to hurt.” Not a sentence to calm the anxious.
But change has come to the medical profession, as least as far as my recent experiences reveal. Everyone seemed to understand that I was anxious. Everyone went out of their way to tell me what was going to happen or was happening. One even said, “We don’t want there to be any surprises.” What a concept. I was told that the iv fluid would feel cold, that the biopsy needle made strange noises, that the beeping in the operating room meant things were fine, and that the oxygen mask smelled funny because of the plastic used to make it. I was asked if I was cold and needed a blanket. When I had to hold my arm in a weird position, they offered a rolled up towel for support. When I had to hold one arm over my head, they handed me a rubber ball to squeeze “so your arm won’t go to sleep because that feels weird.”
Some people may miss the all knowing doctor. I am reassured by this new approach. I am seen as the anxious patient I am. They are concerned and seek to minimize the stress. As for me, my blood pressure stayed low throughout and my heart beat steadily and calmly. Thanks everyone.