You’re Not The Boss Of Me
Today at dialysis, I shocked my tech. No, I didn’t put my own needles in or anything like that but when she was about to take my needles out, I put my hand on her wrist and said, “____ slow down.” She looked surprised and said, “what?” I repeated, “slow down.” On this day, like many others, the unit was short on employees. I think I heard that 3 techs had called in sick. When that happens, the techs and nurses run around like chickens with their heads cut off.
They’re trying so hard to take care of the patients they have and some are coming off the machines at the same time others are being put on AND machines are beeping due to blood pressures being high or other problems with the dialysis machines. I can see and sense the stress that the staff is under when they’re short employees. But I’ve also had needles that have dragged when being taken out of my arm because techs are rushing and that is a very painful experience. My tech looked at me with frustration but she did slow down. I explained to her that she was ‘hustling’ so fast that she could make a mistake.
This tech is very good, skilled at what she does but she’s still in her probationary period and wants to make a good impression on the boss. I understand that. But what the “boss” needs to understand is that my graft is my lifeline, it’s what they use to perform the dialysis treatment. Something else needs to be done in terms of staffing when they are short so that the techs aren’t multi-tasking to the point where errors can and do happen.
We as patients are told that we have to be our own advocate. I’m a big believer in that in all areas of my life. But sometimes when dealing with medical professionals, people tend to feel intimidated and they don’t always ask the questions that are on their mind, or they worry about taking up the doctor’s time. But it’s important to shake off the intimidation and speak up for yourself because we know our bodies better than anyone else.
Last week I had some problems with my blood pressure. My doctor put me on some new medicine and within two days I began experiencing some side effects. I had read about certain side effects associated with the medication before I started taking it (the internet is so great:-). There were mild side effects that I could handle but there were also some that made me feel so sick that I couldn’t walk without pain. I knew I couldn’t continue taking the medicine. So I called my doctor’s office and told her that I had to stop taking it and I asked her if she could prescribe something else and she did.
There were a couple of other things going on medically during that week that I had to handle and I jokingly told my son, ” all that work and I didn’t even get a co-pay:-)” Seriously though, we are responsible for our own bodies and we have to stand up and speak up for ourselves. I do it all the time.
*There are times when patients can’t speak up for themselves – for whatever reasons – so there are peer mentors at many of the dialysis units…I’m one of them at my unit.