When the Answers Are Just Out of Reach

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When the Answers Are Just Out of Reach

The caller, named Barbara, was in tears, and at first it was difficult to understand what she needed – what she hoped I could help with. “I have no voice! They don’t hear me!” Barbara repeated that phrase several times – meaning – I could clearly hear her, so her statement made no sense to me. At least, it made no sense until I asked her what she was trying to voice – what could not be heard… “They just won’t answer my questions. They keep telling me what to do, but when I ask questions, they just dismiss me.” OK. Now we were getting somewhere. “Who are they?” I asked her. “Who is dismissing you?” “All of them. The doctors, the nurses, and all the rest of them. They pretend they don’t hear me. They give me no answers. I have no voice!” OK. I finally understood why she had called. After making some empathetic noises, I asked her a few questions to see if I could steer her in the right direction. “May I ask you what kinds of questions you hope you can get answers to? What do they do when you ask your questions? Do they ignore you, or…?” She went on to explain that she is alone, and older, and has been told she needs heart surgery. But she doesn’t understand what the surgery will do for her. She also doesn’t know how she can possibly take the time for surgery because no one will be home to take care of her dog and “He’ll starve without me!” Further, they’ve provided her with details like the date of the surgery and what to expect from rehab, but she doesn’t have the ability to make the arrangements that need to be made for transportation or being away from home for some time, or other details. Barbara is right. She has no voice. And with no voice, how can surgery or other care possibly be successful? Barbara Isn’t Alone The sad part is that there are thousands of Barbaras (and Benjamins) out there, and every day of the week, they are being backed into similar corners by the healthcare system that is, today, set up more like an assembly line than a care structure. It’s more about quantity and money than it is about helping patients. These folks are FUDGE – Fearful, Uncertain, Doubtful, and Exhausted. Sad,…



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