It Wasn’t Personal Until…

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.~ Maya Angelou

I’m the kind of person that believes in live and let live. First do no harm is one of my favorite statements about life in general. I don’t take many things personally because we’re all human beings who make mistakes. But, at some point, you realize that someone has risen to such a level of incompetence as to cause harm. At that point, I move into “protect myself” mode.

Let me start by saying I rarely set out to anger someone or cause drama with supervisors. I honestly believe that most people are hard-working individuals who are trying to perform well at their jobs. Sure, every now and then a person slacks off. I’m even guilty of that in my own life.

I’m medically complicated. It’s that simple. The medical community I have been interacting with is in way over their heads. Three weeks or so ago, there was a decision made that I was a “difficult” patient. You can interpret “difficult” however you desire. But, my main doctor flat-out said that I complain too much and am using up too many resources as they attempt to resolve my complaints. I found out about this decision two weeks ago…during a medical emergency when the ER doctor walked into my room and asked me which hospital I wanted to be transferred to because there was a “Do Not Admit” note on my record at that facility. Did I mention this facility is considered to be a major medical center?

If you’ve been following my blog since August, you’ve already read some of my writings about the medical community. I’ve had great interactions with a fairly significant group of people. People I could probably be friends with if it weren’t for the situation. Most medical people seem to be more or less normal and probably live “normal” lives outside of work. There just seems to be two forces at work in the medical community, neither of which bodes well for consumers.

The first is organizational inertia. This happens when the processes just stop being functional. It’s like when I saw a specialist two weeks ago who prescribed a certain medication. I went to have the prescription filled at a retail pharmacy only to discover my primary doctor had to approve it. So I went to pharmacy #2 which just happens to be a military pharmacy, handed over the prescription and walked out the door 30 minutes later. No questions, no authorizations. I can’t figure out why the process exists. Organizational inertia also occurs when people start pointing fingers at each other and acting on rumors. Had the medical community I am involved with acted reasonably along the way, there probably wouldn’t have been a panic moment when my primary doctor realized I had not been told that I was being dismissed as a patient.

The second force is what I like to call “fiefdoms.” Fiefdoms happen when a person decides they hold all the cards and attempt to micromanage situations. They stop communicating with other people who should be involved in decisions and act solely to wield imaginary power. You can find fiefdoms in every possible industry, but in the medical field fiefdoms can be deadly. Imagine a doctor who thinks they are the expert on a medical condition and decides to ignore other opinions from their peers. Or a doctor who no longer listens to a patient because the doctor has decided what is wrong with the patient and refuses to entertain any other diagnosis. Now you get the picture of how this is a problem for patients. I’m not saying that a cold isn’t a cold. But, if it lasts for 10 weeks, perhaps a bit more investigating should be conducted.

So, to all the people who I’ve angered, stepped on or walked over in the last two weeks…I’m not even going to apologize. You can blame lack of resources, being bound by policy, overworked, underpaid or whatever. Don’t take it personally, but those things are not my problem. YOU are my problem because you refuse to see the impact your decisions have on ME. And when your feathers get ruffled and your supervisor starts looking closer at your actions, you have no one to blame but yourself. Don’t even try to blame me for being “difficult.” If you see something is not working, try to change it. Don’t succumb to inertia. Don’t cut yourself out of the loop and think there will be no consequences. Take responsibility for improvement. Change can be painful, but not changing is really a luxury none of us can afford.

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