Experiencing significant gastrointestinal symptoms, I visited a gastroenterologist last Friday. He is an outstanding physician whom I had seen before.
After examining me, he began an exposition of his treatment plan. He looked directly at my wife, Judy. I was sitting at a forty-five degree angle from her. He did not look at me. He had a stenographer in the exam room typing. My wife has systemic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis; and I have been her primary care partner for thirty-five years. I still have good cognitive skills, able to process what I am told, read what I am given and make wise decisions. I practiced pharmacy for forty-two and years and have a scientific mind. I raised my hand and asked if I could ask a question. Immediately, he said, "No, I will lose my train of thought". I knew that I would not remember my question later. The plan of treatment document that I was given when I left did not answer questions that I would have asked.
His comment irritated me. "Who can recover from an interuption better, the physician or the person with dementia (PWD)?". "Does he really want me to understand and do what he wants me to do?"
"Why do physicians not know how to communicate with a PWD?" When will they learn?" Will they ever learn?"
©2015 Robert Bowles
Robert Bowles, Jr.