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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What I Should Have Said

This is what I should have said:

"Doctor, you need to talk to ME. You talk too fast and direct
your questions to my parents. I am a competent and
high-functioning adult. I make my own decisions. We are
discussing my health and my medical issues. That is between you
and me. It is inappropriate for you to talk over my head, as if
I'm a child.

"I try to interrupt so I can explain what is going on or ask a
question. You just keep on talking. You don't acknowledge my
presence. You don't answer my questions. You don't give me the
chance to speak up on my own behalf.

"Through my interpreter, I heard you ask, 'Do you agree?' My
mother said that she did. I didn't agree. I didn't have a clue
what you were talking about. Since I'm the patient, shouldn't I
be the one who has to agree with you?

Then you finished, said 'goodbye,' and left the room. The
interpreter was still trying to relay your long and quick paced
speech about what is wrong with me. You were gone before he
could finish. What if I had a question? What if I wanted to
comment? You just walked out of the room because YOU were done.
Being a doctor doesn't give you the right to be that rude.

"Here's the bottom line - you are an expert in pain management.
I respect that. But I am an expert when it comes to my body,
my health and my pain. You obviously don't respect that, and you
don't respect me. You need to learn to listen to your patients,
especially those who have severe disabilities.."

"Interpreter, you sign too fast, and you use too much ASL. I've
told you that I'm new to ASL. I'm doing the best I can. If I
need to use signed English and fingerspelling, that should be
fine. After all, I am the consumer. You are there to facilitate
communication. You need to use my preferred communication

When I don't understand a sign, repeating it five times is not
going to help. I try to ask about the sign, but you are going
too fast. You don't give me the chance to talk or ask for
clarification. You don't go back to help me figure out what I
missed. What's the point of using an interpreter if I don't
understand what you are saying?

Plus, you sit too far away and hold your hands up too high. I
have to sit at the edge of my chair and reach forward to follow
your signing. This puts even more stress on my sore elbows and
shoulders. We've talked about this, too. But you still don't
adjust your position.

"Both of you need to realize that I am not weak-minded. I am not
retarded. I am an intelligent person I can make my own
decisions and take care of myself. I have a disability that
effects communication. If you would come down to my level, we
could actually communicate. Bring yourselves down... slow
down... work with me... Respect me.. Communicate. That's all I

This is what I actually said:

"What? Uh... Ummm... Wait! Ummm... What does that mean? Hold
on.... Uh.... Huh?"

1 comment:

  1. wow. thank you for the reminder. I try hard to make sure my daughter knows what is going on and what people are saying to her, but I admit that sometimes I get in a hurry. We're all new to ASL too.

    I'll try harder.