One of those things that sometimes irk me is the lack of warmth I have encountered from medical professionals throughout my journey with cancer. No question, there have been exceptions, glimpses of compassion extended from a few people. More often than not there seems to be a general lack of empathy or sensitivity. It is certainly possible it’s a side effect of the job our health care professionals have to do or because they need to personal distance themselves their for own protection.
How often have I felt forgotten as I waited for hours and hours to see someone for an appointment? Cancer care seems to turn me into a number, just one of many in the same boat.
It can be rough sailing when you try to navigate the waters of cancer treatment. Sometimes, our captains and first mates do not seem to be interested in making our voyage any easier. Hours and hours of sitting in a waiting room with never an apology or even an acknowledgment of the time I have wasted. Don’t you understand my time is limited and I do not care to spend it reading a three day old magazine or listng to a television droning on about nothing. My time is valuable.
I’ve have rarely felt comforted or even acknowledged — except by a few who have simply placed a hand on my shoulder. That’s all it would take, a simple gesture or kind word.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW
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