Each week a new medical emergency is rushed into hospital and each week they delivered a miracle, and a cure in time for credits to roll.
Even the recent spate of reality medical shows leaves each viewer with the impression that doctors are curing almost everything or at least successfully treating everyone. No errors. No mistakes. No complaints. No undiagnosed cases. No medical mysteries. No chronic illnesses. No shaking of heads and “…sorry, but we don’t know how to help or treat you..”And definitely. NO. Rude. Doctors! ..Ever!
Medicine is perfection… Or so we are expected to believe.
The message the world takes away from these ‘shows’ is that medicine is infallible and that medical mysteries and unsolvable/ incurable illnesses just don’t exist.
Nothing could be further from the truth… But that doesn’t make for good television or ratings. Who would want to watch such a thing? Or believe such a thing? Not the average tv watcher or the average person on the street for that matter. We WANT to know that when we get sick, we will visit our local M.D. And be treated and cured… I certainly wanted to believe that too.
However. For every successful diagnosis there are hundreds that aren’t. For every curable illness there are thousands that aren’t. For every chronically ill sufferer there are a long list of doctors, drugs, treatments, hopes, confusion, tests, frustration and desperation.
The average Autoimmune Sufferer will see several specialists, wait up to eight years for diagnosis and spend the majority of their adult lives in pain or in a debilitating situation that can worsen over time. Many do NOT respond to the current course of drugs and treatments and most will worsen over time. THOSE are the FACTS.
Look them up if you are unsure… I did! … I had to!
It’s not a scene where doctors and nurses are holding our hands or holding a cool cloth to our foreheads. Ask anyone who experiences chronic pain and they will tell you that the bulk of their history has been a story of doubt, disbelief, isolation, self management and a medical system simply not designed to support us.
Most of us have been ignored, not believed and shuffled between departments for decades. We can even be labeled as psychological cases in an attempt to remove us from treatment rooms.
I now watch those same shows and long for a case of African green monkey fly or whatever they can cure with a dose of antibiotics and a nice cup of tea. I wish I had ‘…what SHE has…’
My own experience of illness is a very different reality… and so it is for the thousands of people I have met along the way.
I avoid doctors and hospitals as much as humanly possible. We dont like or want to be sick. Not for a second. Not even if George Clooney was my doctor!
While this is piece not intended to demonize the entire medical profession, it IS an attempt to balance the record to include the many millions of cases that never make it to the screen. We will never have our story told on medical drama shows or medical reality shows because they would not be stories many would wish to watch or accept.
But the problem is that while they may not be nice, popular, high rating or desirable… They are never-the-less painfully and deeply true.
Many millions of us, the world over, are living the painful reality that medical science has a very, very long way to go. And so does our understanding of Autoimmune and Chronic Illnesses.
Let’s make sure we keep telling the truth and sharing the realities. Story by story.