We all wish being treated for health issues could be a little more… personal. Too many times, we’ve sat down with a doctor and tried to explain our situation.
They nod, mumble, “mm-hm,” and clickity-clack some notes down on their computer, one shoulder swiveled away from us. While no doctor has to have the bedside manner of Mother Teresa, after one-too-many encounters with heartless doctors, we wish some of them would.
It’s easy to feel like a number in today’s medical world, especially given that a hundred years ago most doctors paid in-house visits and knew your family personally. Now we sit in a sterile white room and wait to be prodded by someone who just read our name off a list.
While it can be demoralizing, especially if your health puts you in and out of hospitals and clinics on a regular basis, not every healthcare experience has to be impersonal. We as humanity haven’t been in hospitals for too long. Births and deaths and mumps and measles used to all happen at home, where that personal touch and sense of comfort were easy to find. Now that we’ve shifted to larger facilities, we’re once again finding a way to bring that human element to patient care.
Cancer, being one of the hardest to treat and hardest to face, has started to become a more personalized experience for many patients. Doctors now realize that personal, respectful, patient-centered care is a huge advantage when facing something tough like cancer. Many cancer-care centers are bringing life and personality into their process everywhere they can. If you or a loved one is battling cancer, you’ll likely be relieved by an extra bit of color surrounding you.
Another personal disconnect can be the very language that you speak. Maybe your preferred language is Spanish, or you’re looking for treatments for a parent who doesn’t speak English. With the rise of the internet, you can find websites to browse with your parent as the two of you look for a solution. If, for example, your parent struggles with the common sleep disorder, sleep apnea, and is looking for a machine, you can show them a CPAP machine website that’s entirely in Spanish. They’ll be able to read about “El primer el limpiador y desinfectante automatizado para CPAP del mundo” and feel that personalized touch of healthcare in their own language.
No matter what health issues you’re facing, your process doesn’t have to be impersonal. While there will be frustrations along the way, you’ll still be able to find care that’s more suited to you. You deserve to be treated like a member of the family, not like a number or a name off a list. Personal care is out there, and while the world starts to remember that people still want to be treated like people, you can find the places that are changing back to personalized care.