It is the mid-60’s. A child has a lactose intolerance. The parents require him to drink 3 glasses of milk per day because most doctors highly recommend it. The parents do what they think is right. However, the child is constantly ill and the doctor gives no reason for the constant congestion, earaches, heartburn, nausea and lethargy. The doctors and parents label him as pretending to be sick so that they can get out of chores, school, etc.
As we noted in the last post, patients often try to support the family who is trying to be supportive of them. Sometimes the patients are the only ones who understand their conditions well enough to advocate for the right kind of care.
But sometimes their doctor or even their family say:
“Nothing is wrong with you.”
Somebody feels “flu-ish” for months. She knows that her body is telling her something is wrong. She is miserable and has trouble focusing at work, so she “fires” her disbelieving doctor.
A new doctor sends her to specialists, one of whom finds a chronic illness which is known to be a serious disability and which requires much patience and care. So much for hearing her former doctor, just outside the door, telling someone “There’s nothing wrong with her!”
But the patient’s file might now carry the humiliating diagnosis of “hypochondriac.”
Nurses at a hospital don’t give the patient all of the medicines he normally takes. This is because of a lack of paper-trail, as the patient has to be treated by doctors at two different medical facilities. The patient is uncomfortable and weak but continues to insist on the meds he knows to be correct. In the end, the nurses never investigate this and the his illness is more painful because of the sudden exclusion of the daily prescription.
Perseverance! Have you ever had to persevere to care for yourself or a loved-one? What was the result?