1 Iyar, 5773
Whew, it's a new Jewish month and I ended the previous one with some impact. I'm back from yesterday's exciting and insight-packed encounter with those vision rehabilitation medical students. Class was directed by my personal eye doctor, whose innovative and pro-patient assistance over the last few years helped me to attain self-sufficiency when I'd faced a future of despair and physical decline.
I've been reflecting on how much laughter the professor, students and I shared. The students were shocked, mystified and amused by my medical case (they were looking at, or listening to verbal accounts of, my medical records) then scared to respond to the professor's questions about it all (my case made medical history. It baffles bigtime experts let alone students).
They tested my sight, flipped out at what I can do, fell silent at what I struggle to do, and realized "Yeah, those prayers must help her somehow. And the vegetarian diet sure seems to help. Nobody who eats meat ever recovered sight after such a medical experience."
I told jokes, played games with the eye exams (one of the pluses of my limited vision is that I can detect things that people with normal vision do not), explained personal decisions about choosing life and forced courage over death and despair.
We talked about our private lives a bit, they looked at copies of the EMPOWER Yourself book and invited me back every two weeks of the remaining semester.
The BEST part was that my craniosacral therapist Chana Bracha aka Andrea Garden Kornfeld who succeed at opening a formerly paralyzed eyelid drove me to the appointment (she wrote the Introduction to the 2nd edition of the book). The staff was impressed with her and she is now booked to speak at the college!
There was an interesting interlude when my eye doctor informed those college students of an arrogant eye surgeon who'd once demanded that I permit her to blind me in one eye to end my double vision (I wrote of the encounter in the EMPOWER Yourself book), and that I declined the hopelessness she'd prescribed and proposed that there might be ways to restore my sight.
I jumped into the conversation and explained that the long-ago surgeon shook her head "NO" to my optimism. She recommended psychiatric intervention to convince me of the "need" to sign an agreement for the permanently blinding surgery. I shouldered my purse and responded with a LOUD slamming of her office door as I announced "I will not permit you to maim me. I see the future and it looks ever-better" or something like that as I walked off into my ever-more-visible future.
Yesterday's college students were speechless after hearing the story.
I then gently explained to them that the average patient lacks the stamina or quick-witted poise to resist bad medical attitudes. Part of my effort in interacting with the medical school's student body is dedicated to teaching future doctors to listen better, to think broadly rather than in limiting points of view, and to dedicate their medical work to helping the person before them - not merely to deal with tension by arrogantly or abruptly dismissing medical problems with harmful procedures and processes.
"To help people who need to know how to deal with drawbacks in the medical world," I replied.
"Not everybody can vastly re-engineer their personalities to become so assertive, nor do they know the wonderful resources I've been exposed to as a former Health Information Management professional (I used to supervise medical records rooms, legal requests for information, prepare statistics, communicate with medical innovators and more). The book whispers over the reader's shoulder and helps them to face their medical and mental health problems with dignity and solutions."
I left some teary-eyed people in that eye exam theater. We plan to meet again, several times over.
I hope you'll respond to the scenario I've described. Your comments are welcome!
A medical crisis - you'd cry too, if it happened to you. Use your tissues and handkerchiefs with my blessings borne of experience. GOD gives you Permission to Weep (the license to do is in the book!). And you can say that to any critics after explaining that "It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To."
Buy the E-book or print edition to EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.
Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism.
Face frightening people with the right response!