Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Back when I was first diagnosed there weren't many other Crohn's patients in the hospital at the same time as me, but during my last stay there were five of us. The larger number of patients occur now because more people know what Crohn's is, it's being diagnosed more often these days.
I have met many Crohn's patients over the years in the hospital, and am still friends with most of them but the most memorable patient was a little girl named Victoria.
After I was released I continued to go up to visit her. Visiting newly diagnosed patients and answering any questions they may have had, from a patients perspective, was something that I found helped both them and myself. It was something that I wished I could have had to help me during those first confusing and scary years.
Victoria was only a child, under ten when she found herself dealing with it all.
One day when I showed up there and walked into her room, she didn't want to see me. I was a little hurt but more concerned as to why. Finally her Mother left us alone and she said "You don't have Crohn's! You can't have Crohn's and be that tall!". For any of you that know me, I am NOT tall, 5 feet 4 and a half inches isn't tall. But to her I was. Between little sobs she went on to tell me that her doctor had talked to her parents that afternoon, he told them that due to her diagnosis at such a young age, she wouldn't grow, her height would be stunted. Steam almost started coming out of my ears and nostrils I was so mad, but I calmed down and assured her that I did have Crohn's and that she would be at least as tall as me. That made her smile though I wasn't sure which made her happy, that she could look forward to never being a runway model or that we were still Crohn's buddies. We coloured and watched some tv until it was time for me to go.
On my way out I asked whether her doctor was around because I wanted to give him a piece of my mind, and lucky for me he was. Because he didn't know me I asked if I could speak to him for a minute and introduced myself. He smiled and said Victoria and I were very lucky to have each other, I agreed. But the smile disappeared from his face when I told him that if he has something to discuss about the disease with Victoria's parents, to leave the room with them or bring her into the discussion, because she is too young to understand some things and old enough to jump to her own conclusions if not explained properly. I went over the conversation that her and I had and told him that I'm not the one that should be telling her such things, that it's his job that his patients understand their illnesses.
Victoria was in the hospital for another month or so after that and I saw more of her when I was then admitted again. Her doctor never talked in front of her to her parents again.
I assume you can figure out what the moral of this story is, but whether you are a patient, a parent or a doctor in a situation like that, think about the ears that are around you. You can never tell what others are thinking and they may just be too afraid to ask you to explain yourself better. So put yourself in others positions, you never know, you might even learn something.