Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Learning has occurred

It's not very often I find myself glad to be wrong, but this is one of those cases. The pain I wrote about in my last post has gotten better. I followed the instructions of the surgical nurse I spoke with on Friday. I took my pain pill as prescribed for three days, and what do you know? My pain progressively decreased. I'm relieved. I'm glad I was wrong, and better yet, I'm happy to report I even learned something from this experience.

It's always good when learning occurs at my advanced age. (Insert smiley face emoji here.) Like me, my mother was dubious as to the nurse's simple instructions. She couldn't believe that's "all they were going to do." As I tried to calm my mother's concern, I said something aloud which I had never thought about previously. It went something like this, "Well mom, even though this pain is unique to me, it's probably not unique to them. They've probably heard this hundreds, if not thousands of times, and they know from experience my pain will get better if I just do what they recommend." As I said it, I felt a knocking upside my head. Wow, I thought, that was really profound.

The knocking upside my head occurred because I realized I've been in the surgical nurse's shoes hundreds, if not thousands, of times with my own patients. The complaints of my patients, which maybe I dismiss without enough compassion, are unique to them. For example, even though I've seen thousands of total knee replacements, and I know exactly the various pains my patients may experience, my patients don't have that knowledge. I know which of their pains is normal, and I know that pain will improve if they do as I recommend. I see their entire course of recovery, and I know how the story ends. They don't. I need to remember that when I return to work.

I need to remember what I just taught myself. I think I do a pretty good job of empathetically communicating with my patients, but there's always room for improvement. When I return to work I need to be kind, reassure my patients, and be careful not to come off as dismissive. I don't want my patients to feel like I did on Friday. I don't want them to feel dismissed when they express concern over a symptom, unique to them, which I've heard many times before. Reassurance is important. From now on I will do my best to provide more than just instructions. I will work to reassure my patients, too. Whether suffering from pain, illness or depression, isn't that what we all crave?


Jean Grey said...

Thanks for your post. I'm an OT/CHT, and could use the reminder myself. I'm also glad you are feeling better.

Wendy Love said...

How wonderful to hear you having positive perspective on difficult circumstances. That is what I have always admired about your posts, that you manage to get a learning curve out of your situations. Glad to hear progress is being made. Keep on keeping on.