Wednesday 31 August 2011

They're just words.

I keep trying to write. I have boxes full of scribbled half thoughts on the back of bus tickets. Pages and pages of getting It out. Pulling it out of my head, cajoling it out, and trapping it down on paper so I can look at it this way, and that. My mind works on paper, captured thoughts revisited. I'm steeped in other people's words - book on book of ideas and stories - trying to see through all this paper to the few grains of truth that connect it all together.

There is so much that I want to share, but I can't cut through all of these words to communicate.

I am frustrated. I'm having problems articulating (and swallowing). Brain fog regularly robs me of words, but this is different. My voice is drunk and slurring, stumbling and uncertain, especially when I'm tired. I have been particularly conscious of it back at placement - communication is so much a part of what I do.

It's another aspect of control that has fallen away. Fainting, throwing up, giving way. Jerking, shaking, grunting. My body insists on making its presence known, its difference apparent. Now you will lie down, no you can't eat that, I want to jump and bounce and twist. One long lesson in going with the flow.

I feel vulnerable when I can't hide behind words. I am afraid to speak in case the sounds that come out aren't right, aren't acceptable. My control and my mask are being shredded. God, it's scary. I can't 'pass' anymore as non-disabled. Not invisible anymore, for all the good and bad of that.

I'm doing some studying, some reading. I'm listening more. I can't help but wonder if it's not some cosmic lesson telling me to shut up because I talk too much.

I play with communication on placement. Written information, diagrams, trying to get the most infomation from the least questions. Using silence and touch, when appropriate. Studying how my presence interupts or enhances the doctor-patient conversation, how formality and professionalism blend with the personality of both parties. What do I hold back behind my professional distance, and does that limit how patient-centred my approach can be? How do I vocalise the 'elephants in the room' when someone insists they've come because they "can't sleep", but they seem to be saying that the sleeping tablets help their anxiety? Which words build barriers, and which break them? Is it ever appropriate to say "me too", or would showing true compassion render that unecessary?

This feels like just another experiment in communication, not having the words to make them see past the stick or the random movements, or the chair. Letting people see me, react to me, and not feel the need to explain. Working out when it is really important for me to open my mouth, and when it's just noise.

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