Doctors Are People Too

August 1, 2008

It always makes me smile when I walk into a doctors’ waiting room and find everyone sitting in nervous silence. I find myself wanting to shout “Hey! it’s okay, the doctor won’t bite” but instead I usually end up talking about something mundane like the weather. Anything to break that awful tension in the room.

I’ve never been able to understand why people treat doctors with such reverence. Yes, they are highly qualified professionals who are deserving of our respect but they are also real people who in the main, enjoy having a good rapport with their patients. Think about it – if you had a job where everyone who came to see you was so petrified that they could barely speak, you’d soon tire of having to reassure them before making any progress. A visit to a doctor can be an intimidating experience but only if the patient allows this to happen. I’ve always found it useful to employ humour when appropriate. It’s a great tool for breaking down barriers and getting to the point. It’s important to establish a 2-way conversation so that the consultation is a shared process. Remember, your doctor learns a great deal from what you tell them. If something is said to me that doesn’t quite make sense, I will always question it and if necessary, argue the point. I find that doctors respect when you take an interest and work with them to find the best way forward. The patients who sit in terrified silence throughout a consultation, are really missing out. Of course, bad news is never easy for anyone involved but if a good rapport has been established, then it’s likely to be a little easier to digest.

Doctors are real people with real lives just like you and I. Most of them are under huge day to day pressure, with their busy working lives constantly vying for more time at the cost of their personal lives. They do make mistakes sometimes but they’re only human after all. Show them you care and they’ll respect you for it.

One of the many joys of blogging for me has been the discovery of some great medical blogs written by doctors, nurses and medical students. My favourite ones are on my blogroll where you’ll find medics writing and sharing their everyday lives with anyone who cares to join in. It’s good to see patients, like myself, join the debate as I believe that we have a lot to learn from one another, for the benefit of all.

I’ll finish here by saying that there’s a new blogger on the block who’s making waves with great ideas to sort out the mess within the HSE. Dr. Jane Doe has joined the team of Irish doctors and nurses over at Two Weeks on a Trolley, and she makes for very interesting reading. Our Minister for Health would do well to take note.

Blog Land

April 22, 2008

Today is the first anniversary of this blog. Hip Hip, Hip Hip, HURRAY!

Okay, so I know some clever dick is going to tell me that the tool bar shows The Biopsy Report started in June, not April! You’re right, it did but this blog actually came into existence this day last year. If you don’t believe me, scroll down and have a look at ‘archives’. The blog was originally known as Que sera, sera and after a few months of dipping my toes into the blog pool, I decided to make a few changes and start all over again. That’s when The Biopsy Report was born.

How well I remember those first few tentative steps into ‘blog land’. I hadn’t a clue what the whole blogging concept was about but my son, Robin, kept telling me “You’ll love it, Mum!”. He was right, of course. I totally adore it and now I can’t imagine life without blogging. My friends think I’ve lost it but they don’t know what they’re missing! He! He! Hardly a day goes past without me announcing to someone “but one of my blog friends says this” or “one of my blog friends does that” and it raises some interesting looks. Okay! Maybe I have lost it but I tell you what, if this is losing it bring it on, I want more!

So, some 22,000 visitors, 2 blog award nominations and a whole lot of fun later, here I am celebrating a year of giving an insider’s view, from a patient’s perspective, on what life is like within the health service. To sow the seeds for this, I had to put my story out there first and this had the added bonus of bringing welcome support and understanding from all my blogging friends. I used to talk about my medical saga as being a lonely journey. How things have changed! This blog has really helped me to find the plot and I’m hugely grateful to everyone who’s given support. Now that I’ve got my own woes out of the way, I’ve started to focus on the bigger picture of our rapidly crumbling health service. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I just say it as I see it and hope that by exposing the various issues, it will get people to think more about what sort of health service they want, and need. They say your health is your wealth. Sadly, in Ireland it’s rapidly becoming more of a case of your wealth is your health. I’m determined to do all that I can to raise awareness of the flaws within the system, as I see them. Some day, you may be very glad that I did.

And now, where did I see that great lasagne recipe yesterday? I’m off to give it a whirl! Thanks! Grannymar.

I’ve been nominated!

December 31, 2007


And for once, I really don’t know what to say…

My blog, The Biopsy Report, has been nominated by Medgadget for a Medical Weblog Award in the Best Patient’s Blog category. I’m extremely grateful to the person who has submitted my blog for consideration and also to who have sponsored the award. If I were really honest, I’d admit that I’m chuffed but not for the reasons that you’d probably expect.

I started writing this blog earlier in the year following some major surgery. The operation was the culmination of two long, hard years fighting a serious MRSA infection in my skull. As many of you will already know, I’m no stranger to the world of surgery but the blogosphere was a complete novelty to me and I’m still very much a learner in this regard. In my blog, I write about medical issues and experiences from the perspective of the patient. It has proved to be the most therapeutic outlet imaginable and I’m now what could be termed as, a compulsive blogger!

There is not a lot to recommend about life as a long-term patient. Nothing can be taken for granted. The constant stop/start nature of life due to sudden illness is very frustrating and it can feel very unfair at times. It’s a real roller coaster of emotions but I would add that illness does have some compensations. My experiences have taught me to appreciate the simpler things in life and to see the world through different eyes. I have called it discovering magic and I can assure you, it is magical!

Yesterday my blog counter registered 12,000 visitors since June 2007. This is reward enough for me. I put my story out there in the hope that it might help others to see life from a different perspective, that of the patient, and these figures have exceeded all my expectations. A big thank-you to all who have visited my site and most especially to anyone who’s left a comment. I treasure your views. I also hugely enjoy visiting other blogs and especially those listed on my blogroll.

I have my son, Robin, to blame for getting me into the blog world. He spotted in me, a blog waiting to come out – and how right he was! He encouraged, cajoled and bullied me into putting my experiences into words and I have to say, I’ll never be able to thank him enough for introducing me to this world of fun and discovery.

My life has certainly not gone according to plan but this nomination feels like a lovely tribute at the end of a particularly difficult year. And right now, I’m feeling very lucky indeed 😀

HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all!

Your ‘expert by experience’ patient,


The Joy of Blogging

December 24, 2007

I have a list of blogs I read; my blogroll you can see

So every time I go online; some treasure waits for me.

I’ve finally come to realise; your comments mean much more

They might just look like words; but they touch me at the core.

And while you may not be aware; of any special link

This blog has changed my life; in more ways than you think.

In some small way you’ve had a part; in shaping things I do

And the best gift life can offer; is finding gems like you!

Merry Christmas!