This post is part of a series of experiences on healthcare. From realizations, patient navigation, and the implications of being divided by a border.
Symptom: Misinformation and poor communication
I tend to do things on my own for most of the time. The idea of self-sufficiency is something that I look up to. When my family and I were figuring out the logistics for my grandpa’s treatment, things got complicated.
Communication was key during these times. Specially for my father and myself because we were taking action at the early stages.
However, due to the nature of the situation, I didn’t realize that my father and I had to do plenty of crowd control within the family.
We had to be rational, assertive, and sometimes rude to some of our family members and friends. The reason for this was that there were plenty of individuals that had the best intentions to help, but in fact were causing unnecessary drama, distraction, and stress.
It sounds harsh at first, but imagine this situation: suppose that you were waiting for a doctor’s call at a given time, a matter of life and death. Suddenly, your phone gets blasted with phone calls and text messages from numbers that you don’t even know.
How would you feel and what would you do?
Keeping in mind that you might be sleep derived, hungry, possibly anxious, and on edge. Would you like to answer to all of these messages, unknown callers and tell them the whole story? What if you miss the phone call that you actually need?
Rx to self: Focus and be in the moment, for who needs it, and for your own peace of mind
This is when I had to minimize distractions. Prioritizing and basically ignoring a lot of attention requests. I needed my whole cognitive, rational, and emotional stability in order to perform on what mattered at the moment.
What I was experiencing with my phone was, in a way, what in the social sciences is known as mass hysteria. At a given point, there was a rumor within my own family that my grandpa was basically dead, and that we had prepare for the funeral.
While it’s understandable that we worry about this life and death situations, it’s important to realize that it’s dangerous to assume the worst and treat it as a fact. It’s as if you already lost the fight without even trying, and actually feeling depressed already.
However, once that digital communication issue was minimized, we had a system going on. The right people was helping us out, and I’m forever thankful for their time and care. We were finally getting things on track and the unknown was less intimidating.
We were living the present and being proactive, instead of reactive. Less worrying and more doing.
In short: even on this type of situations, you still have the right to choose to who you give your time and attention. Most importantly, you don’t owe anybody any explanations. That night I was reassured about that.
All of these unnecessary attention requests and explanatory demands happened when I took my grandpa to the emergency department.
That moment I felt an aversion to distraction.
But goddamn, I was focused.
No time for emotions or worries.
It was time to act and listen.