I feel awash with stories (nightmares even) of disastrous, frustrating relationships between people and their professional care teams. I listen with amazement and watch the hurt, the anger, the self-blame, bubble out, spew forth. Sometimes I have to sit sideways to protect my heart from breaking. At their best, relationships are partnerships. Partnerships can be a bitch in the best of circumstances. Yet, good partnerships make me high – the partnerships with my honey, my work teams, in music groups, with the anonymous one-time chance encounter and yes, with my health teams.
To manage my energy, my capacity, and my spirit, I listen more and more for stories of what works -success stories of mature relationships, mutual learning, speaking truth to power. This week, my friend and inspiration, Cristin Lind (www.durgastoolbox.com), wrote a blog post for the British Medical Journal. In the post Cristin describes her recent experience supporting her son during a long inpatient stay. After many years’ experience she
- Writes things down
- Looks things up
- Consults her online patient community
- Asks better questions
- Became better at summarizing her concerns
- Became better at communicating what’s important to her son and her family
- Has better self-care coping skills
- Better understands and respects the roles of the professionals
- She considers herself part of her son’s team
- Shows the staff what her son’s like when he’s healthy
These lessons worked for Cristin and her son. They made for healthier relationships and better partnerships. Her stories used to be darker. She’s inspired. I’m inspired. Thank you.