You never know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. When I was an ICU nurse and people would apologize that I had to work on Christmas day I would just thank God that I was working and wasn’t the patient in the bed, fighting for my life on a holiday. We often take our health for granted. As you know, I had a little girl almost 9 weeks ago. She had, what I felt, was an awful rash. She also has a few other problems that we are having to see doctors for and I’m getting a real taste of what it is like being on the other side. Wondering if a call at a certain time means something bad or something good, wondering if I can trust the doctors taking care of my baby, wondering if there is anything I can do. Being sick is a very helpless feeling. To all my patients that I have scared or confused or made things any harder than they already were when you trusted me to help you with acne, a weird mole or rash, I apologize. My hope is that you will always feel comfortable with me. With all that being said I would like to list the top five things someone with a rash doesn’t want to hear. These were the things people said to me when Stevie had a rash that drove the “patient” me (not the health provider me) bonkers.
1. “Is she contagious?” Okay, you’re holding my baby and kissing her and you think I’m just allowing that knowing you’re gonna wake up tomorrow with this funky rash all over your face?!?! No, she isn’t contagious. If we have an obvious rash we will let you know if we are contagious.
2. “Have you tried _______?” I appreciate your advice, sort of, well actually no I don’t. I saw a doctor and they told me what to do. I know you are trying to help but you are making me feel like I’m not doing something that I’m supposed to be doing. You can’t wave a magic wand and make a rash go away in the blink of an eye. Trust me, I’m working on it.
3. “That looks like it hurts.” How do you respond to that? “Yes, it hurts, thanks for noticing.” ???
4. “Who is your doctor?” Does that imply that you don’t think they are doing a good job? Or that you want to make sure you don’t go there? I felt so self conscious being a dermatology nurse practitioner and having a baby with a rash. I felt like people thought I must not know what to do.
5. “How long does that last?” That is the million dollar question. Wish I knew. Asking me just reminds me that I don’t know how long I have to suffer with this rash down to the minute.
Everything that happens in life is an opportunity to change for the better. I wish you all the blessings of change, of making life better. I think I’m a better healthcare provider for having a baby with a rash so I guess it wasn’t SUCH a bad thing.
Hope to see you all this week. It’s amazing to be back at work at Johnson Dermatology so I hope I get to see you and share some of my JOY with you!