Wednesday, 3 August 2016
Why can't doctors call a spade a spade? Why do they call it a digging tool, a shovel, a trowel, when, let's be honest, it's a damn spade.
Why can't doctors say the word cancer, instead of calling it a mass, a tumor, a growth? Say the 'C' word and let the shock settle, let the talk begin as to how to deal with it.
And when someone is approaching the end of their life, give the family some honest answers, it's not as if they want your time frame written in blood, it's an estimate, not something that can be predicted, as no one can predict the strength of the human spirit.
Writing about the day my Mom died, and reading of another's personal experience, reminded me of the day Mom and I went to see the oncologist.
Mom was in Week 2 of radiation treatment, and was seeing an oncologist for the first time. As I was in Florida, and would soon be returning to Canada, I needed to know what Mom's status was. Being a nurse, I was given some professional courtesy, some frank talk.
The doctor said, and I can quote as it's etched in my memory, "without chemo, she has about 2-3 weeks, and she's too weak for chemo".
That doctor was right on the money, within 2 weeks, Mom was in the hospital, and within days, was gone.
Too many times health care professionals talk around situations, and with an uneducated patient (and I mean medically uneducated) there can be many misunderstandings. Add in the hierarchy, of who gives the patient the information, and this time I mean doctor as opposed to nurse, there's all sorts of room for confusion in an already emotional situation.
Too much precious time can be lost because people don't understand that a trowel is just another word for a spade.