Sharon at After Gadget, is hosting the PFAM carnival this time. She posed the question:
What makes someone a patient? When, and in what contexts, do you think of yourself as a patient, and when do you not?
I thought, and thought, and thought….and I came up with…First –
What makes someone a patient? So I looked it up. (I looked it up in a few sources and came up with generally the same answer, but I liked Wikipedia’s answer the best. The original meaning of the word patient is “one who suffers”. The meaning today” is any recipient of healthcare services.”
With this in mind: Yes, I am a Patient. According to both definitions.
Second part: When, and in what contexts, do you think of yourself as a patient, and when do you not?
For that I decided….well, it depends. I know this is a very insightful answer, so I will elaborate. Bear with me, I ramble when thinking about things like this…heck, if you read this blog, you know I ramble often. : )
A lot of the time I do consider myself a patient. My treatments aren’t over, I still have plenty of doctor appointments, I still take a ton of medication, I’m still dependent on someone else, so yes I’m a patient. I had a lot of trouble with my husband being my caregiver for a while. I felt like I was no longer his wife, I was his patient. What could I do for him? He has been everything to me. He not only provides for us, he does the housework, the meals, bathes me, helps me with personal hygiene. Many…many times he’s held my head and calmed me when I had vertigo for hours and just kept throwing up. He’s put in many suppositories, and every time I feel horrible about it, and I cry. I often feel like we’ve changed, I’m now his patient. But I’m more than that..
Often, we will have touching moments together, we’ll curl up and snuggle, he’ll tell me how hot I am…just today he was helping me and brushed my breast, and said, “you know I only did it that way so I could touch your boob.” He makes light of my illness, not in a bad way, he doesn’t dismiss it, but he never let’s it get in the way of being my husband first. He’s simply thankful he can be here for me, just as I would be for him. We enjoy the wife/husband/friend relationship as much as we can. He NEVER lets me forget that I’m more to him than someone he has to take care of.
Yes, I am a patient. But I’m so much more than that!
A Wife. A Friend. An Advocate. A mom to my Furry Babies, Sandy and Max.
And I’m an artist!
Sometimes I want to shout loud enough for all the world to hear:
I AM MORE THAN MY ILLNESS!
But Sharon asked more than that. She asked how I refer to myself. That depends on who I’m talking to.
If I’m meeting someone only Stuart knows, I refer to myself as Stuart’s wife. If they ask what I do, Stuart usually says, “She’s an artist.” He’s proud of me. But if he doesn’t, I usually do say I’m an artist. If the conversation persist for a long time, I may say that I’m not a professional artist right now due to my health. (If you’d like to see some of my work, see my other blog: Create to Heal.)
If I’m talking to a friend, I’m just Wendy. However, recently I felt I had to explain a few things to some of my family and friends. People just didn’t seem to get it. I was told I “deserved better”, and I should “find new doctors”, and “that insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. The treatment I’m undergoing has given me different results. It usually works (on at least some of my symptoms), at least for a little while, once it worked for almost 5 months…I want to get back to that.
So I wrote a detailed explanation to them, letting them know that I have a CHRONIC Illness, it is not going away. I explained exactly what Meniere’s is, and how I’m in the advanced stages of bi-lateral Meniere’s. I know I’ve explained it before, but people seem to think it will go away.
I may not deserve this, but who does? No one I’ve ever met. I explained that I have some of the best doctors in the world helping me, doing much more to try to help me with this disease than most doctors would. Well, you don’t need to hear the whole note. The point is, I felt I had to point out that I am a patient. I didn’t use those words, though sometimes I do. I’m a Meniere’s patient.
Often when I meet people for the first time, I’ll try to hear them or read their lips before I announce I’m hearing impaired. Usually, I have to say, “I’m sorry I’m hearing impaired, can you look straight at me when you talk and talk slowly so I can understand you?” That usually works, but it’s funny to me how fast people forget, they try to do what I ask, then they will look away, and forget all about it.
It’s hard in hospitals or doctor’s offices because they aren’t supposed to talk softly to insure the patient’s privacy. So I say very loudly, so they know I need to hear them, that I have Meniere’s and I need you to talk loudly, look at me….. Often, hubby has to translate.
When I’m talking to or about some of my Chronic Illness friends, that how I refer to both. I’m a chronic illness blogger, I have friends with a chronic illness….we don’t all have the same thing, but we are kindred spirits just the same. We get it.
I’m not sure I really answered Sharon’s questions, but it made me think.
In my heart, I’m a wife first, because my husband is so very dear to me. I’m mommy to Sandy and Max…my furry babies…again because they are so dear to me. The rests are almost tied. I’m a friend, I’m a blogger, I’m an advocate for my illnesses, and for myself….and last but certainly not least I’m an artist.
I’m sure some would give me even more titles, but these will do for now.
Please make sure and stop by Sharon’s blog, more than once her post have moved me, made me cry, and made me think!
The PFAM carnival will be up on her blog After Gadget, on Wednesday October 26th. Check it out, and think….How do you define yourself?
8 thoughts on “Am I a Patient?”
Wonderful post! Thank you! I’m so excited that you contributed to the carnival!
You know you made me step out of the comfort zone. Had to think of how I define me, and that can be a little different just depending on the day.
thanks for hosting PFAM!
Great post! When we are dealing with a chronic illness it can be so easy to have “the patient” overtake who we are. We are wonderful in so many things and we always have to remember that. We can’t let ourselves be defined by our illness alone.
I will not be defined by my ILLNESS!
I won’t, I won’t, I won’t! *stomping feet loudly*
I’m sure that outburst was more for me than anyone else. I think I heard myself.
I sure hope so.
This was really interesting Wendy! Made me get a little bit teary, especially when you were talking about Stuart.
There is so much that plays into how we define ourselves, and even someone with a well developed sense of self can be thrown and forced to re-define themselves form time to time. Also, no one else ever sees what we see of ourselves – something that plays into relationships a lot, I think. Someone else’s definition of who we are will never look the same as our own definition.
every time I hear that something I’ve said makes someone teary…I tear up.
of course, I tear up at a lot of things lately….but that always gets me.
I’m glad you liked the post. Stepped out of my comfort zone a little bit.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂
I’ve been living with a few chronic health issues and a permanent arm injury (muscle)…none of which “show”. But it never occurred to me to think of myself as a patient. There’s a part of me that still refuses to think of myself as disabled, even though I actually have been “officially” since 2003. I usually say I am housebound because of health issues. There was a little shudder that went through me when a dear friend called me her shut-in friend.
My life did go completely off the rails and I am home with my cat almost 24/7 and my body has taken charge of my life…but I have always just felt like me–adapting to what life has dished out. Sh*t happens, as they used to write on T-shirts in the 80s. It’s just one more thing to deal with. It could be worse. All the chronic pain and exhaustion–won’t kill me. (Even if you may wish you were dead some days!) Maybe that reveals that I have had an eventful life–LOL!
I’m still just me. A me who gets way less accomplished and has had to slow way down and cannot always count on my body to back me up with appointments, but–still–just the same person.
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