November 16, 2009

Adventures in Brain Tumors (Prolactinoma!)

notmy2ndopinion: Adventures in Brain Tumors, (by @mathowie) (via @JoshuaSchwimmer)

My favorite part comes in the conclusion and it is very revealing about how AWFUL the patient experience can be. All too often, health care professionals feel pressured by their own time schedule and do not take the time to move at the pace more comfortable for the patient. Even small, simple things can make a big impact, like pulling up a chair to sit while talking, tuck the blanket in after pulling it down to examine their abdomen, etc...

The days in the hospital didn't go by so much as a blur as they did a smear. I was either asleep, passed out and seizing, lethargic, and very briefly completely awake each day as an army of medical professionals grilled me with a couple dozen identical questions and eventually life altering decisions were presented to me when I had been awake for all of 30 seconds.

I came away from this experience feeling the OHSU hospital in Portland continues to impress me with its amazing staff, but that the process of dealing with patients could be done in a more efficient manner. I know they all sort of kept an internal log of my story but to constantly be asked the same things by different groups of people and then not know who is your main decision maker was a challenge. Given my state of sickness and exhaustion, I felt like what an elderly man might feel like in the medical system. I had trouble understanding what people were saying as they woke me from sleep, I was constantly poked and prodded without descriptions of what results entailed, I literally wanted to "phone a friend" when those surgeons asked me in the early morning hours what I wanted to do.

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