Please excuse me if I use this space for a little therapy since I can't afford (and don't have time) for an actual therapist or support group other than my blog. *sigh*
Dear Doctor __________,
My husband and I have been on a long journey since he was injured in May of '08. What everyone thought was a 'simple' hernia has turned out to be everything BUT that. It has included a missed diagnosis, incorrect treatment and a litany of doctors, clinics and medical professionals. So we're used to this system by now. Meeting you yesterday was merely a blip in a long process that so far, isn't even close to over yet. I know that. My husband knows that. You even said you knew that as well.
That said, this bears saying even if it's only here in my little blog or somewhere on the internet. I am my husband's wife. As you referred to me yesterday, I am "just his spouse."
Do you know what that means? Just his spouse? I am his best friend. His comforter when he's sick. His care giver when he is unable to function. I live with him 24/7. I married him "in sickness and in health. In good times and bad." Let me assure you that visits to the military health facility fall firmly into those categories. Despite what you may think, the 'just a spouse' thing doesn't bother me. I am proud to be just his spouse.
So as his spouse, let me say that ignoring me or lifting your hand into my face and saying "You aren't the patient, your questions do not matter" is not only absolutely inappropriate, it's just not true. When I ask a question, it's a concern that both he and I share. You may not realize that he asks me to come to these appointments because sometimes I remember things that he doesn't. Often, I can answer questions or fill in the gaps that he can't. So my questions do matter.
You are (at most) 20-30 minutes of our lives about once every three months. Being military, it's highly possible that you may only be that 20-30 minutes this one time. We've learned through experience that when our next appointment rolls around, you could be in Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan or even *gasp* Montana. We might never see you again in the course of my husband's career. But the decisions made in that 20-30 minutes will affect (at the very least) the next two to three months of our lives. We also know that your decisions could have much longer impact on our lives than just that time. We've found that out the hard way too. You aren't our first doctor and you won't be our last.( Even though I am just the spouse and I am not a medical professional, I do have some advice to share. It may help you in the future.Collapse )
You see, I am my husband's spouse. I'm his wife. And the military does have one thing very right about that. I AM his dependent. Proudly so. My kids and I? We do need him. We depend on him every day. So trust me when I tell you, that his care is my top priority as well.
Your absolute insistence that you 'could fix this' where none of the 20 or so other doctors previously could (and by using methods we've already tried) didn't give us confidence in your care. Looking me in the eye and saying "You're the spouse here. Not the patient. Your concerns don't matter" didn't give me confidence in your abilities either. The upside of that? I had absolutely no confidence whatsoever in your statement that we "have no hope and no other options than what I'm telling you right now."
You see, we DO have hope. You may be his assigned physician here in this military treatment facility for right now, but you're not the physician we're turning to for his care. You're not his cure. You won't be. You're not going to fix him. We know that. We rely on a greater plan and a far more trustworthy physician than you or anyone you've ever worked with or gone to school with. This physician is one that we can rely upon no matter what the injury is - physical or spiritual. And He cares for my husband and me and our children. He knit my husband together in the womb and He has held my husband in His hand for every step of his life. He's never gone TDY or deployed to another location. He's never forgotten to make note of my husband's condition and he's never misdiagnosed what's wrong. He's never left us or forsaken us. We're not numbers to Him or appointments in His day. We know that and we are so thankful every moment for that fact.
Your insistence that you are my husband's only hope? Trust me when I say that you are the only one who believes that.