Thursday, September 16, 2004

Knowing thyself...

So to kick off my (nearly) two weeks of annual leave I had the joy of a blood test. You'd imagine, probably that as the proud owner of a range of tempting medical problems I'd be used to this by now, but it will never be a prospect I relish.

So I pole up to the hospital clutching my form and arrive at phlebotomy. Its obvious to the most casually medically trained observer that I am not the easiest person to take blood from, being as I can't move, and I'm sure I can see the phlebotomists playing paper scissors stone in the background. Eventually I get called in. I smile encouragingly at the Nice Young Man and tell him that the best (avoiding the use of the loaded word 'only') way to get blood out of me is to plunge my hands into hot water and take the blood from the back of my hands. My positive smile fades when the Nice Young Man asks if he can see my elbows - the usual site for blood tests. I usually say yes to this, but this time I'd had enough. I said no, that I hadn't had blood taken from my elbows for several years, (more than five) and
that really it had to be the back of my hands.
A few minutes later, I had my hands in a sink full of hot water and then I go back to have my blood test. It works perfectly first time.
'Goodness', says the Nice Young Man. 'You really do know what you are talking about,'
Now naturally I was irritated by that. I have three serious well defined medical conditions (all very well managed) and clearly am no stranger to hospitals. Surely I'm going to know the best way to manage routine medical tasks? I left the hospital thinking in part that the Nice Young Man needs further training (and he was a Nice Young Man, very well meaning) but then wondering whether enough disabled people do take responsibility for their own medical needs? Do doctors - some doctors - over bearing manners mean that people lose faith in their own bodies to such a degree that they don't pass on information? I have to admit that there are times when my body drives me (and pleasingly, occasionally drives others ;) ) to distraction but surely you can't expect everyone you meet to instinctively know the best way of doing everything for you and sometimes you have to take responsibility? I don't know what the answer is, and its not as simple as blaming one over the other. Working together seems like a sensible option.
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