I have serious fear of doctors, dentists and hospitals. I have PTSD that is easily triggered by doctors in coats, unkind medical staff, the sounds of equipments, the smell of medicine and the sight of needles. What happens to me? I experience panic attacks, difficulty breathing, flashbacks, blackouts and sometimes psychosomatic pain.
My recent surgery had my sanity pushed to the limits. For normal people they might think I am over-reacting or they may see me as a regular scared patient. What they don’t see is the amount of self-control, tolerance and fortitude I intentionally show, just so I don’t freak others out.
That is why I am very thankful when I get to be in the presence of good medical care.
THE SYMPATHETIC DOCTOR
Dr. Juliet Cariaga-Uy has been my mom’s doctor since forever. If not for her decisive action to have me hospitalized that day, I would have ended in a worst condition.
I looked forward to her daily rounds because she lightened up the heavy mood around me. She has a personalized approach to her patients. We talked about her kids, my family and my life. I like it the most when she recognized my mental health condition and we talk about it a little.
Having a doctor that is like a mom-friend makes the hospital experience less scary.
THE KIND DOCTOR
For me, kindness is the number one antidote to all my phobias. While waiting for my surgeon at the emergency room, I was twisted in pain but was more terrified of having one of those cold unemotional doctors. When Dr. Jaime Venturina showed up and started talking to me, my anxiety level went down instantly.
There was a gentleness in him that relaxed my agitated heart. He took time to answer my never-ending questions. He laughed at my jokes and my many awkward attempts to hide how scared I was every time he cleaned my wound.
How can you be scared of a doctor who can laugh at you and with you?
THE SKILLFUL ANAESTHESIOLOGIST
I have heard horror stories of how painful spinal anaesthesia is. But when Dr. Domingo Remigio did mine, I didn’t feel that excruciating pain at all. I felt more torture from the cold air in the surgery room than the needles being injected in me.
People who have needle phobia need seasoned doctors like him to make the experience less traumatic.
THE COMPASSIONATE NURSES
Your over-all hospital experience relies on what kind of nurses take care of you during your recovery phase, because you spend more time with them than your doctors.
I truly appreciate all the nurses who took care of me for 7 days: Judy, Fe Clarissa Sanchez, Bella, Jade, Kate, Mahal, Len Gambito and all those kind nurses that I was able to talk to (sorry I was too groggy to remember your names). They made the extra effort to talk to me, cheer me up and made me feel human. ❤
THE TRAINED NURSES
It’s common for hospitals to have nurses still under training or some still perfecting their skills. It would be nice if hospitals will go the extra mile to know which patients have real phobias and assign adept nurses to their care. This is because each bad experience adds greatly to the trauma we battle inside.
I am thankful when I get nurses who are experienced in special procedures. When nurses JADE and CLARISSE inserted my catheter the first time, it was one-go and painless! Their relaxed and happy mood made the process less dreadful. I found it ticklish and funny instead! I love them!
THE JOLLY NURSE
There is one nurse who stood out the most during my stay. Her name is Nurse Judy Anne Taguiam-Tahir from Bagabag. She’s the nurse that you’d look forward to whenever your door opens. She would come in with her cheerful voice and funny antics (like accidentally banging herself on the door or comically struggling on tiptoes to reach my Dextrose).
She made me laugh! She would take the time to talk to me and sometimes share her own stories. She remembered things I said or requested. She did all these extra efforts to make my recovery less painful and more comfortable. What a lovely character!
THE COMPETENT MEDTECH
When I’m asleep, all my defenses are down. For a person to be able to draw blood samples from me while asleep, without me involuntary punching his face shows a person with skill. Saldy Manghi is one of those MedTechs who make their patients feel very special by doing their job with utmost care.
THE CONSIDERATE STAFF
The best recovery support people are those who are tolerant with patients who keep asking questions over and over. You see, when under a lot of stress or pain, there are information that needs to be processed repeatedly in our brains. We also thirst for any kind of comfort or assurance during these stressful times.
Ma’am Mayeth from Caritas Solano, the male PhilHealth staff on duty (from Sep 2-6), Rommel who pushed my wheelchair and Matet the ultra sound technician – thank you for being so kind and accommodating!
THE RELIABLE FOOD PEOPLE
My favorite parts of the day were meal times! The food-staff delivered on time and the cooks made our meals tasty! I hope the people in the kitchen get to know that someone appreciates the work they do. I guess the one thing worth my costly hospital bill is the delicious portioned food!
THE AWESOME AMBULANCE TEAM
This is the first time I get to personally experience the service of my hometown’s emergency response unit. The MDRRMO Bayombong team did not disappoint! Their happy friendly voices distracted me from the intense pain of moving. They got me in and out of that ambulance, on a dark rainy night, with coordinated ease and gentleness. Very professional!
THE INDULGENT AIDE
My hospital aide assisted me in everything – from carrying me to washing my greasy hair to computing my bills to observing the flow of my urine. Haha.
Kelvin, my little brother, thank you for all the things you did for me. We fight a lot but know that I love you with all my appendix. And that is gone already. Haha.
One day, if you are hospitalized, I will return the favor by staring at you for a long time while you ugly cry in pain. Sara-saramat, ading!
To you who have the same phobias as I do, it’s OK to voice out how you really feel inside and hope that your medical care will be sensitive about it. Some will understand but most won’t. So at time like these, know that there is a God who says, “Do not fear, for I am with you”.