Coping

Shared goals and problems

copingCoping: “Sitting next to a man who has painted his head red and his body blue at a football game is either amusing or annoying.  It is, however, your choice to be there, and nothing about his decisions, behaviors or emotions need to impact you accept as an imposition of noise.

In the waiting room of any healthcare office, you are exposed to other patients who may share your problems and goals, but as with the guy in the stadium, the goals, methods and objectives of other patients may be quite dissimilar from your own.

In occupational medicine, pain management, and surgeon’s waiting rooms, the deserving and high integrity patient may/will meet those who are manipulating for drugs and other goals.  While the patients become aware of this, the providers may not.   Under the assumption that all patients are faithful to the true, nefarious motives are not often considered.

However, the patient coping with limitations, applying for social security disability benefits or simply gaining emotional support are understandable offended by the unscrupulous and manipulative fellow patient.  Such patients will often regale others with how clever, creative and ingenious they have been in having their needs met and goals achieved. 

Worse than having to give audience to such individuals, the patient fears, often with a degree of accuracy that s/he is seen no differently than is the devious patient.  For the purpose of coping, they question whether being honest and faithful to the truth is actually appreciated, and are they distinguishing themselves from these conniving individuals.

This is a topic that is not spontaneously mention by a patient until that time when benefits checks are late, authorization is postponed and they feel they are treated dismissively.  At that time, with very little probing, they are forthcoming as to how they have become martyrs to the truth while others are using their complaints as a means of defying the “system.

The take away is that patients, at their most vulnerable time, are exposed to others without sincere motives and must serve the dual role of fidelity to the truth and, concurrently, trying not to resent those who are not doing so.” 

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