Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Breaking Barriers and the Doctor-Patient Relationship

I have been in active recovery from my eating disorder going on 3 years now. There
are very few, if any, services in Idaho for those with eating disorders. My treatment
is handled by two MD’s, a clinical psychologist and a registered dietitian that does
specialize. It’s an incredible orchestration of teamwork and communication. The
doctor-patient relationship is really important, but when you have to work on that with
4 different providers it gets a little hairy.
I see my primary doc every week. She monitors my weight and my meds. She will
review what I’ve eaten and what’s been going on in general. And, sometimes, we’ll talk
about knitting and good stuff like that. She told me one time that she’s going to have
to teach me to spin. That was quite a while back.
So I asked her again about the spinning. And she invited me to her house to learn.
Sure, that’s cool. I’ll get to meet the family and her critters she’s got.
Jocele and I chilled in a room upstairs in her house. It was painted this light blue
color and flooded with the afternoon sun. Plum orchards graced the scenery from the
window. She sat on a couch and did some embroidery while I tried desperately to not
break the fiber I was trying to feed the spinner. I asked her a lot of questions.
Where did you go to school?
What do you like to do?
What do you like to eat?
You know....it was kinda like playing 20 questions. And she answered every single one.
When she taught me the
actual spinning, she would
stand up beside me and guide
my fingers on the fiber. She
literally pulled my fingers
down with hers. She did this
one other time with knitting,
and I couldn’t stand the
human touch. I would try to
get up the nerve to shake her
hands off. This time, though, I
don’t think I cringed too bad.
The frustration this time was
getting the tension right on
the yarn! She put some
classical music on, and I just
zoned out, producing crappy yarn but loving the moment. I spent hours in that room. Feeling safe. At peace. And really enjoying getting to know Jocele.

I had completely lost track of time and all of a sudden she was standing in front of the window asking if I wanted tostay for tacos, salad, and apple crisp. Inside my mind, I was questioning everything. I looked up, and the woman I had been bugging for the last two years to smile more gave me the biggest “come on...”
type of smile
.
I hate eating in front of people. I always have. Jocele treats my eating disorder. And
here she is wanting me to eat with her. Sure......no problemo. I don’t really know
anyone too well, some friends of hers are coming over and I’m wondering why this is
even happening. But, nothing that I thought would happen happened. No one looked
at me funny. We dished about tattoos and ink. No one monitored my food. I was made
to feel....welcome. No one treated me like a patient or a client. I was treated like a
normal human being.
I don’t know how often experiences like that happen. It felt so good though - not
to discuss my disorder or medications. I was captivated by her son and daughter. I
enjoyed seeing Jocele with a bucket for collecting eggs instead of a stethoscope around
her neck.
One thing I had always told my therapist was that I didn’t want to be known as the
girl with the eating disorder. It’s not who I am. So, that being said, two very important
goals were reached that afternoon I walked around with chickens at my feet.
I fought the urge to get out and let myself see where it would go. I let myself be social.
Jocele treated me with pure human kindness and dignity. For an afternoon, I was not
her patient. I felt equal to her. Her patience level is astounding as demonstrated by me
duking it out with her spinning wheel. Maybe she just …....saw me.
To be treated with human kindness and dignity. I am always pushing for this in my
blog. Exposing myself and sharing experiences that society alienates me for. Feeling
isolated.
Alone. Deeply saddened.

Jocele blew that out of the water. She did just that: treated me with kindness and
dignity. She proved with just one action that there are people that will look past the
outside struggles. What she did was get inside. Gave me a chance. Met me. And gave
me the hope that there are people that care about each other. Actions like that are
rare. And it chips away at the disorder.

Maybe next time I’ll get the tension right on the fiber. Maybe I’ll relax enough so I
don’t produce another batch of dreadlocks. But I’m totally thrilled Jocele will be there
to help!

1 comment:

cynthia castellanos said...

This is great jenn! Thank you for letting me come into your life ;);) keep up the good work! Love you cynthia

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