By Mary Jaksch
If you’ve ever struggled with ill health, you’ll know how disempowered a visit to a surgery or hospital can make you feel. If you’re accompanied by a friend or family member, doctors will often turn to them to ask, “How is she feeling?” – as if we’re not even in the room!
Health activist, Dave deBronkart, says: “Patient is not a third-person word!” Talking of Dave, he’s a extraordinary guy who found out that he was suffering from terminal renal cancer and was looking at a median life expectancy of twenty-four weeks. That was four years ago!
If you want to be totally inspired and excited – watch the TED video with Dave deBronkart below. He is at the forefront of a health revolution, called e-Patient where patients take back power – and help each other find treatments online. This is a do-not-miss video!
(If you’re reading this by email, click here to access the video.)
And a little story …
When my mother had already lost half her marbles, I took her to a restaurant here in New Zealand. I guided her to the table but she shrugged off my arm. Then we sat down. The waitress ignored my mother and asked me what my mother would like.
My mother drew herself up to her full height (which wasn’t much) and asked in an imperious tone:
“Are you asking my daughter what I might like to order?”
The waitress blushed and a hush fell in the restaurant.
Everyone looked at at us. (I studied the tablecloth).
Then I said nervously, “Er … Mummy… I think the waitress was just trying to – ”
My mother waived me aside, “Please don’t interrupt, Mary!”
Then she addressed the hapless waitress in her impeccable Oxford diction, “If you would like to know what I would like to order, please look at me and not at any one else. I’m PERFECTLY capable of knowing my own mind, thank you!”
The waitress scuttled away, red-faced.
My mother used to do a similar dance with doctors when they tried to talk about her in the third person when others were present. They only ever did it once…
What’s your experience of health care, losing your power – and getting it back?
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