Sunday, April 30, 2017

SEE, DOCTOR? This is Where It Hurts

Once, I was referred to a doctor who just did not like me.  He did send me to Pth, but at the end of our awkward hour, he informed me that:

"You're not good at saying what's wrong with you."

I thought he was supposed to tell me what's wrong with me.  But I think I know what he meant; Describe some pain, something that will tell me where to start, something you want to do but can't.

When I was tutoring, I remembered a girl I knew in college who drew muscles and whatever on her own skin as a study skill.  I suggested at a tutor training that there might be a place for that when the tutor and the client didn't speak the same language,

 Now I found this article  thru Twitter. 

Show, don’t tell: how visuals improve healthcare visits
By Katie McCurdy and Chethan Sarabu, MD,    (BYLINED Katie McCurdy.)

The banner of the article was just very simple line drawing, like a smart kid could draw (of a doctor's office.  BINGO.  I wanted to draw too-tall waiting room chairs and how they cut off my circulation.  But the bylined author, Katie McCurdy is not about furniture, she's sharing how pictures can give a trainload of our information to the doctor - and in a picture of how one symptom, one day, one weather change may cross-affect other ills, other tests.

 McCurdy has drawn an elaborate time line chart; symptoms, felt or diagnosed, overlaid on each other day by day   I see this as valuable for so many reasons - each day shows a relationship of symptoms, so if there's an effect between two symptoms, it shows.   I hope you can find the article to see how this looks: with one major problem in pale color, the others can be line drawn on top of it.  Tests and other affecting factors can be written in the margin.

     If I could learn to do this with my colored pencils - 
 it might take the place of even an hour of talking to the doctor. 
 He could see for himself what aggravated a pain, affected a  test.

A help for people like me - a lumbar fusion that affects arthritis and circulation and more...   a dermatitis affects my eye infection; and do my sinuses also affect my eyes. 

Dr. Sarabu, the other author,  is a pediatrician.  He understands dealing with a kid's vocabulary, including scared vocabulary.  We might be surprised how kids can draw the hurt times and place -  just what  doctor needs to know.  

And Yes, adults have scared vocabulary days.  I sometimes do,  and did when that voice on the phone said "cancer."

He also mentions how visuals can help the doctor.  (So we don't feel funny bringing in these charts and pictures.)

 There is so much more covered here.  Including a reference to " a long history of surgeons adding paper drawings to the chart to better describe the details of the surgery they performed."

Even if we don't chart (I don't,) McCurdy shows us her very simple "paper doll views" that we can do.  One front view sketch can show where it hurt Monday, one for Friday. a different one for Wednesday.  Could show ailments like Arthritis that stab  Tuesday morning, then disappear for days.

She has a photo of how she arranged those paper doll  "day" sketches in order before the doctor even got into the office.    Did this work for Katie and the doctor?

"I felt that she heard me, 
and she ordered a bunch of tests
 based on the symptoms I was having."   

 There is even a worksheet you can copy to start your own "record."

   I see this as a way to "engage" our doctors and to show that we are and have been engaged.

(Medium) @Medium

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