Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Volume and Medical Communication

I spent most of my day with a very dear loved one (VDLO) shepherding another VDLO to a couple of doctors' offices. With oxygen, wheelchair and a BP of 70/40, this was no mean feat (as that's not enough blood pressure to really shake a stick at if you don't take the medications she takes, much less if you do). The VDLO who was being shepherded (a person less kind than she might say schlepped, and poorly) was, consequently, more than a bit groggy and slightly incoherent (GSI) and ready as hell to go home throughout the entire six hours we all enjoyed together.

Generally speaking, this woman is the very model of a modern Major General, in the sense that:

"She is the very model of a modern Major-General,
She's information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
She knows the kings of England, and quotes the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
She's very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
She understands equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem, she's teeming with a lot o' news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

She's very good at integral and differential calculus;
She knows the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
She is the very model of a modern Major-General."
When dealing with the GSI, I notice that most medical professionals merely increase volume. In a sense, this is a good ploy--as it certainly heralds their existence (if nothing else) to the GSI patient. Hell, I even do it myself. And it's certainly better than talking both loudly and as if to a recalcitrant three year old, which is not only irritating, but insulting. A doctor can get away with this.

However....when you are dealing with a GSI VDLO who is ill and you're aware of that person's intelligence, skills and personality, it is troubling to speak loudly. All day, I kept thinking it's not like she's blind or can't speak English, for God's sake (the usual inane reasons for increasing vocal volume).

We made it home--and she was very forgiving. In fact, she acted like there was nothing to forgive. She's kind like that.

1 comment:

Marcella said...

Good for people to know.