Sunday, October 23, 2016

M.E. What is that?

page from Into the Light © Corina Duyn 2015
My aim to write short observations/experiences of life with illness (M.E.) continues with this account of dealing with the medical profession.

Over the 18 years of living with M.E. I had a lot of dealing with the medical profession. I was brought to A&E on numerous occasions or was an inpatient in hospital.
Throughout this time, the condition was either dismissed as being psychological, as I wrote about in THIS post, or the name was simply not recognized.

I really thought this had changed for the better. About two months ago I was brought the A&E and was under the care of a young (Irish?) doctor. He didn't blink at any point when I explained the reason that I was seated in a wheelchair, was due to having M.E.
He treated me with utmost respect and understanding. Agreed with my coping mechanism, and adjusted my suggested medication accordingly.

I was 'over the moon' to be treated with such understanding. I did not have to fight. I did not have to explain.
But why should I be so happy? Why is it not simply a given that when you enter a hospital that the medical profession knows about the underlying illness a patient presents themselves with. Why should I be happy that I was talked to as if I had said 'artritis', or 'MS'...

But I was happy.
Happy because on so many occasions I would have been greeted with a 'blank'. With a question like ""What illness?" or "What is M.E.?"

Usually it helps to explain to the doctor that is it sometimes called CFS. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Which is a wholly inadequate name for the condition. There is a lot more going on in the body of a person with M.E. than simply fatigue. But that is a story for another day.

So, a few days ago I had an appointment in another University hospital, and was met by a junior doctor (not sure of his title) and I was utterly dismayed that he had not heard of M.E. I might as well have said some made up word like "I have manigraoblu"

Perhaps he had his training in a different country? (He was not Irish). But my belief that I no longer had to be a teacher about my illness, but could enter a hospital simply as a patient, were dashed. Once again.

I wrote a message in the email-comment-box of the hospital in question.
I wonder will I hear anything back. If I do, I will let you know.

When I wrote a few words about the last event on Facebook, I heard from many other people, that I am ceraintly not alone with this experience.


"M.E., What is that?"

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