Saturday, May 26, 2018

When An Appointment Goes South

Those with complex chronic illness know; after being tossed around the medical system, we end up somewhat traumatized. Appointments become scary things. We worry about the outcome. We worry about whether our doctor will be able to help or not. We worry that our doctor will give up on us.

And sometimes, our fears turn into reality. Today I was refused a treatment I’ve been getting that allowed me to walk normally again. Horrified? Devastated? Shocked? There is no perfect word to describe my reaction to this event in my life. I had been given a part of my life back with this treatment, and it was now being taken away. 

Unfortunately, with more people than not, appointments gone wrong is a common event. Life with chronic illness really is a rollercoaster, as you get shuffled around to different specialists, offered different medications and suffering side effects, progression of disease. 

I tend to be a very emotional person. When something goes so wrong, I get extremely upset. So although I can’t follow through all the time, I’ve found some ways to cope with bad news or a bad appointment.

1- This is the biggest and most effective one for me; making a plan to move forward. Starting to think of what actions I can take next to remedy whatever has gone wrong. Do I need to see a different doctor? Do I need to take a different approach? What is the next step? Having that plan and that next step has a calming effect on me.

2- Lean on your support system. Whether that be at home or online, don’t keep it to yourself. Think about who in your circle would most closely understand what is happening to you. If they are someone you feel comfortable talking to, they will usually be more than willing to listen and be your shoulder to lean on. Because you can’t do this alone. Here’s a quote I relate to this and enjoy: “You are not a burden. You HAVE a burden, which by definition is too heavy to carry on your own.” 

3- Have a list of things that make you feel good prepared. Whether that be taking a hot bath, some good old retail therapy, eating some ice cream, or binge watching your favorite show. Allow yourself to do these things while you heal.

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