A patient’s voice is not that different than the voice of those that are not labelled patients. Patients experience life and feel the similar spectrum of emotions as “normal” people.
Patients feel the same way as others, we think like others, we do like others. Perhaps we may experience life a bit more vividly, a bit more meaningfully since we may have had to confront the notion of our mortality as opposed to facing the scrutiny of a performance review. Being a patient may develop your skills in being resourceful, in advocating, in realizing what is truly important in life, in becoming more empathetic.
When you, you who is not labeled as a patient, talk you talk of many things. When patients speak, we may speak more often about struggling. Some talk about it in the past tense, in the form of a victory, a hurdle overcome, a glad I have that behind me and often that patient simply moves on and puts the past behind them and focuses back on living a “normal” life.
Other patients may speak about struggles in the present tense. The condition may be cured or treated but life just isn’t the same anymore. It’s just not as easy. That can be a result of the side effects of treatment, trauma, stigma and being taken out of the system and then trying to fit back in.
Doctors can diagnose, drugs can treat, hospitals can repair, but it’s support, care and the other elements of a healthy life that does the true healing.
I have the medications that alleviate my condition but I don’t have the support, or the “system” doesn’t support me in moving forward to get on with my life. I am stuck.
I am fine, thanks for asking, but I am not better.
I am alive, I survived, I did not thrive.
There is more to healthcare than drugs, clinicians, hospitals and diapers.
Here’s a video that might help explain the connections of what healthcare is really about and perhaps we can create a healthier society by investing where we get the greatest gains in health outcomes and improving the quality of our lives.