My best friend was told by her doctor to go home and die. Ok, maybe not quite that abrupt, but, after treating her for the past year and performing a surgery in the last 45 days, wouldn’t you think he could have mentioned that he thought her condition was such that whatever he was doing WASN’T WORKING??!?!?!?!? What kind of Doctor boldly slaps you in the face with a statement of that intensity without a little more warning other than ”You have six months”?? When she asked him what he would do, his response was “go home and watch movies with your loved ones”. Well, let’s just play GOD a little more, shall we? How could you not be furious with this kind of treatment? If what you are doing is not working for your patient, you need to give the individual you are SUPPOSED to be helping, the ability to make choices by giving them as much information as possible as soon as you can. Sure, we can all hedge with well maybe he thought the treatment would work and maybe his kid needed braces. But if it were you on the receiving end of that statement, I’ll bet you would have wanted to know this little tidbit a whole lot sooner. Yes, that is a broad judgment call, oh well—.
From my perspective, people with life threatening illnesses need to hold their “providers” to a higher standard. You are trusting this person WITH YOUR LIFE. You are entitled to ask every question in the book and then some. Unfortunately, they are the experts and supposed to have answers and cures. Equally, each one of us has to take responsibility for our health and well being, whether we have the knowledge or not. If not, go find it, resources are available as never before.
Blithely following recommendations from “experts” without questioning them has become a norm. From doctors, economists, officials (of what exactly), teachers, etc., ad nauseam, we fail to question them. But, what exactly is it that makes them an “expert”? If it’s getting by in Med school, getting elected, or serving up tenure, that is not good enough. What you do is far more revealing than any fancy words that pop out. My friend had reason to trust her doctor, to a point, in my opinion. This being the second go around with her condition and regardless of her time free from symptoms, would have had an immense effect on my level of trust with his treatment. But that is me.
The enormity of this has not really hit me yet. My friend does not live particularly close but that has never made any difference in our relationship. She is one of those people that are always there for you no matter what, will tell you the truth even if it is not what you want to hear and one of that “chosen” family, you weren’t born with, but graced with in your life. We have traveled, laughed, cried, cursed at life, drank, shopped, been mad at each other and hundreds of other things while managing to survive yet relish each of our individual personalities and differences.
She also is not going to “go home and watch movies”. That is not her style of which she has plenty, far more than that tactless oaf with his professional advice. I will do whatever she needs me to, in whatever capacity, for whatever time there is. Her journey has been long, but is not over. She still has discoveries to make regardless of her doctors “prognosis”, which hasn’t been right yet. Maybe this will be an opportunity in disguise.
You can look upon her “knowledge” as a curse or a gift. I could die tomorrow, without the knowledge she has and without the eyes in which she now sees the world. I know I will continue to get upset over the small stuff (which I do far too often) but I also know how precious every day is, I will remember to hug and kiss my family and tell them I love them, forgive a little easier perhaps and remember fewer faults. Her life has touched my life and that has always been a gift.