Rollercoasters and Lemons

May 27, 2009

Today while I was taking a long shower I had a day dream of a rollercoaster, you know the kind…old wooden framed ones, like they used to have at Cedar Point?  Not crazy with unending loops like the high tech coasters of today.  I’m not sure why my subconscious choose the old version.  I think the choices I have to make now are more appropriate for the gut-wrenching modern corkscrew-kind of coaster.  

So tomorrow I need to be prepared to ask Dr. Mowat, the Oncologist, intelligent questions about various treatment plans so I can choose the one that best improves my chances at being around long enough to see my kids graduate from High School (sure hurts to even write that).  So far, I only have four questions, and that seems pathetically inadequate.  Not only that, I can’t seem to focus long enough to complete any in depth research.  I know that is because I don’t know how to proceed.  Usually when I drag my feet, or distract easily, I have come to recognize that as a reaction to “not knowing what to do, and how to do it”.   Arrrrgghh. I hate indecision.

Empowering the Patient

Overall, I think providing the patient with information and asking them to make their own conclusions a good thing, but some decisions are just too big, and seem to have no clear answers.   I think I need more information presented v-e-r-y  slowly.  I feel like a “special needs” patient, please give me the information in small “chunks “, and don’t proceed until I get the first bit of information. Plus, you might need to repeat the information a few times…check for clarification even.  BUT OF COURSE, my oncologist does not function like a Special Education Teacher.  I know he has lots of patients in other waiting rooms, I’m even amazed he spent as much time with me as he did the first time. When I think about all the other Cancer patients that need to see him, it becomes kind of a democratic issue I suppose, one guy splitting the available minutes between many, many other frightened patients.  Or at least that’s how I see it.

By the way….the rollercoaster didn’t have people in the seats, hands held high screaming in delight…..  It had BIG LEMONS in each seat.  They weren’t exactly animated, but they kind of had “personality”.   It was a vivid and unusual vision to have in the middle of the day.  I think I know what it means, but I am waiting for the full story to come into my consciousness.

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One Response to “Rollercoasters and Lemons”

  1. gaely Says:

    It would be especially nice if Doctors learned to speak the English of the everyday person who hasn’t had the same medical education and vocabulary as they have had. Really, to feel as you do/did is only because of the latter sentence. It’s in learning how to communicate (on their end) and the not feeling inept on our end. Ask the questions and don’t hesitate to stop the conversation (usually onesided) for clarification. You need to make some very tough decisions and you should not only conceptualize what those are but you should be able to feel comfortable asking your doctors anything that comes up without feeling like a lemon on a rollercoaster. I think you are so wise to bring a tape recorder and a friend because there’s really so much being thrown at you which can be so very daunting in one sitting.
    love and support your way my dear friend.

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