I am a person.
I know it's shocking to some of you, but it's true.
I was even one of you, before illness came knocking at my door.
I am not a body part.
I am not a set of test results.
I am not patient number five for the day.
I am a living breathing human being.
I have a life.
I have hopes and dreams.
I have fears.
I have a family who are equally affected by my illness.
I cannot turn it off.
I must live with the impact of illness every hour of every day.
When I step out of your office my life continues.
My piss poor health continues.
I cannot detach.
No matter how much I may wish it otherwise.
I am an informed patient.
This is my body and my life.
I am invested in finding a solution.
I am invested in understanding my body and why it is breaking.
This doesn't mean I don't value your opinion. That's why I'm here after all.
My knowledge and investment are not a threat.
They are a tool you can use.
If you are open.
I am not two and you do not need to speak to me like I am incapable of understanding what you are saying.
If it is complex, take the time to explain it in lay language. Use pictures, or at the very least give me a handout.
I know that some patients are complete douche bags. Being sick doesn't instantly make you Mother Teresa.
But don't treat all patients as if they are the enemy.
Douche bags, although difficult and memorable, are a minority not the majority.
I understand that you need a certain level of detachment or the sheer weight of human misery you see each day would crush you.
But please look me in the eye.
Please listen to what I say.
I came to you with hope.
I came to you with the knowledge that you are an expert in your field.
I came to you to help me.
I will respect you more if you treat me like a person.
I will be more compliant if you treat me like a person.
Say you don't know.
Refer me on.
Such honesty makes it highly likely that I will trust you.
Such honesty makes it highly likely I will come back to you again.
I don't want platitudes.
I don't want disdain or sarcasm.
I don't want to feel like I am an inconvenience.
That I need to be rushed out your door.
Show me that I have value.
That my health is important to you.
See me the person, and I will see you as a person too.
Respect is a two way street.
I want this to work.
I want to feel better.
Together we can do this.
Michelle the person, who just happens to also be a patient.