Rehashing Medical History is Emotionally Difficult

When I had to have a MRI recently, there were two separate rooms for people to wait in, given everyone had to be in a gown. Women were on one side, and men were on the other, with the nurses station (and where they took blood and/or placed the IV if needed) in the center and shared among both genders. While I was there, I overheard an older man and the nurse's conversation and it has stuck with me ever since.

Although our medical history was incredibly different, it was obvious this man had gone through a lot. When the nurse asked the usual questions, his immediate response was that he wrote all of this down during registration, it was in the computer system in the hospital and he didn’t see why he needed to rehash it. The nurse proceeded to tell him it was protocol and it is important to ensure they don’t miss anything. I could tell by the sound of his voice that while he accepted that answer, he wasn’t happy about it.

He then proceeded to tell her about all of his surgeries and the exact dates they occurred. The nurse had a few follow up questions that, given the amount of detail this man went into, I am surprised needed to be asked, but nevertheless, he responded to her but kept referencing how it was pointless for him to write any of this down if he was just going to have to explain it all again.

After they finished speaking about his medical history, this patient bluntly and sternly said “The IV needs to be put in the back of my hand. If you are not comfortable doing this, please find someone who is.”

This made me smile because it really does go to show you that everyone knows what is best for their body and I liked that this guy had no problem articulating without hesitation what would be best for him.

This made me think about all of the times I have had to repeat the same things over and over again about my medical history. It is always so upsetting to have to rehash all your past experiences, plus explain (for the millionth time) what you are currently experiencing now. I would hate when someone would say “so what brings you here today?” because it’s like AHH I JUST WROTE IT DOWN ON THREE FORMS AND SHARED WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH SIX OTHER PEOPLE - Do I really have to go through this again?

I understand everyone likes to hear what is going on with the patient through the patient’s words and not just what they see in doctor's notes or what they heard the patient said to another doctor. So, I do get for the most part why these questions need to be asked a lot. I also know it is common for patients to forget things and everyone needs to triple check when it comes to someone’s health and life.

However, I really identified with this man even though we had completely different medical issues. I wanted to share this because I think others can probably relate to the frustration of having to rehash painful memories over and over whenever a test is needed, you have a doctor’s appointment, etc. So many people understand how difficult it is. But all we can do is take a deep breath, try to remember people are asking us for our own good, and let the rest go. Easier said than done, I know. Trust me.

But, you are not alone! This may seem minor to some but it is difficult stuff. Never forget that so many people understand you.

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