Reflections on Chronic Illness

A few people who suffer from chronic illnesses have liked and or followed my blog recently. Reading what they have written serves to remind me that they are the experts, not I. Some of those I know who suffer from chronic illness have some amazing doctors looking after them who are top specialists in the world. Others have conditions that really do not have specialists in that even the best doctors are not able to do very much for them.

When I see clients like these, I know I am not going to cure their symptoms, I may help my clients to suffer a bit less from them for a time.  What I can offer is someone who will really listen to them. Someone who will not write them off as no hopers, someone who will try their best to find something that will help even knowing it is not a cure.

I  can understand the pressures on Doctors’ time. I can understand why they might not have half an hour or more for the patient whose pain they are unable to alleviate and yet to me these are the patients who most need that half an hour or more.

I remember when my partner had pre-cancerous cells in her uterus. The consultant who saw her was very late because he gave every one of his patients far more time than was allowed. I understand that he would finish his out-patient clinic when he saw the patients for the first time at least two hours late every day that he did this clinic, more often three or four hours late as he strove to answer all the questions his patients and their partners had.

I long for a society where people matter that much to more of us. Our time and undivided attention is one of the most precious things we can give to another human being. If only it were possible to do that more within the traditional medical system without one’s partner missing out as was so often the case when I worked in it.