So why lead off with that information? Well, it's part Public Service Announcement (if you connect the dots) and part introduction. I am over 50. I am a reasonably intelligent woman. I am not a medical practitioner, but I've lived in this body for longer than any medical practitioner who has dealings with my body. And today, I was treated as if all of those things are true.
That shouldn't be newsworthy. In fact, it should be so run-of-the-mill that it's not even blog post-worthy, but in my experience, it's true much less often than it should be.
My procedure today required anesthesia, for which I am extremely grateful. But, as anyone who's had anesthesia knows, the preparation for it includes disclosure of every horror story known to modern medicine, which makes a person who's already apprehensive (and perhaps a tad high strung to begin with) even more apprehensive. To further complicate matters, the patient (me, in this case) is meeting the anesthesiologist for the first time. Underdressed and under less than ideal conditions, the patient (me again) doesn't always make a polished and confident first impression. In fact, a passionate person who talks too much and is perhaps a tad high strung to begin with can end up looking a bit off-kilter, which can lead to medical interventions beyond the scope of those necessary to keep me unconscious during the procedure.
Today was no exception. After the anesthesiologist finished his speech, he asked me if I had any questions or concerns. Within the constraints of the privacy afforded by a curtained-off bay with a patient on either side of me, I tried to explain that I wanted no sedation beyond what was necessary to keep me "under" for the procedure. What I wanted to say was, "Don't drug me. I'm just nervous." Not sure what, exactly, I did say, but judging from the look on his face, it was much less clear than that.
But miraculously, he got it. And, equally miraculously, I got what I wanted.
Okay, so that second part isn't so miraculous; I do have a tendency to accomplish that. But in this case, what I wanted wasn't a luxury. It was a courtesy and a level of respect I shouldn't have to specifically request. Don't assume I want all the drugs you can give me, because what I really want is for all of this to be over with and to go back to my normal life. And giving me more medication than I need lengthens both of those processes unnecessarily.
Fortunately, no matter how strangely he looked at me, this anesthesiologist got it. And I'm so grateful, that I deemed this blog post-worthy.
And the very first order of business upon return to my own house? Expressing my gratitude by completing a stellar customer service form. Because when someone listens to you, goes beyond the scope of "normal" and values your judgment even though you're dressed in a hospital gown and paper undergarments, he should know he's made your day.
And so should everyone else in his profession who needs to learn this lesson. Answer my questions. Honor my requests. Treat me like I know a little something about the body I've been living in all my life.
And I'll help you save a lot of money on unnecessary sedation. Better yet, I'll tell anyone who'll listen that you rock and that your place of business is the place to go.