If you follow my blog or regularly read my posts on my social media you know I’m a fan of Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. She always blows me away because she consistently writes about issues that are on my mind. But just as important, if not more so, she also talks about matters that should be on my radar and should concern me — this past Sunday’s essay being a perfect case in point.
In it she talks about reactions to medication, women’s health in general and the gender gap in medicine — and then she segues to the allergic reactions we also have to people, what those reactions tell us and how we should handle them. All of it very important, so here’s a link. While you’re there, take a minute and subscribe.
I know to some degree we all suffer from information overload, but trust me when I tell you that the relatively brief amount of time it takes to read the Sunday Paper once a week is well worth it. In addition to Maria Shriver’s essay there are all kinds of other interesting and meaningful interviews and articles in it as well.
As for reactions to medication we all have our own horror stories and before taking any medication — no matter how much we love and trust our doctors — we really do have to educate ourselves. Sometimes reactions can be life-threatening.
A situation my mother faced once comes to mind. She had high cholesterol. Over the years her doctors tried her on every medication that was on the market. Every one of them caused severe muscle pain and she was always taken off the drugs.
One time I was at the doctor’s with her and he said there was a new medication out and he wanted her on it. She hadn’t been seeing him long — it was shortly after she moved to Toronto — and so she explained the problems she’d had with statins and also explained that her doctors in Montreal told her she should not take them, because although it is rare that resulting muscle-damage can be life-threatening they felt my mother’s reaction was so severe it was not worth taking the chance.
Needless to say it didn’t go down well with this doctor — who clearly didn’t like to be questioned. He got quite huffy and insisted — and also insisted that this particular drug was different and muscle pain was not one of the side effects.
While we were in his office I googled the product monograph and there it was, right at the top of the list of potential side effects. I handed my iPhone to him so he could see it for himself.
Let’s just say I’m not his idea of an ideal patient.
Which is fine by me because my preference runs to doctors who accept that they are humans, rather than Gods who can never be wrong or misinformed. Doctors who don’t talk down to me or at me. Doctors who believe an involved, engaged and informed patient is a better patient, because it makes you their partner. Doctors who not only think it’s okay if you ask them questions, they welcome it.
Really what I want in a doctor is what I want in a friend, a colleague, a partner or anyone else in my life. An open mind and a willingness to listen.