Mixed Messages?


Anyone who has had to deal with multiple (specialist) physicians at the same time know that is can be difficult to get  physicians to communicate and share patient information.     In my opinion, the perfect physician is one who takes the time to explain medical terms in common language, while collaborating with other physicians (who are on the same team with the patient) so that the information that is being delivered to the patient is consistent and  understandable to everyone involved with the patient; but most importantly.. to the patient them self. 

As ‘The Little One” enters into his third week of radiation and chemotherapy,  we have been getting mixed messages from some of our team members of physicians.    While it is agreed by all team members that “The Little One’ needs to add as much protein  to his diet as possible,  an issue came up this week that left us scratching our heads.   Just how much protein is enough...I guess that depends on who you ask!

Until you experience  chemotherapy and/or radiation,   you really don’t know what to expect.  ‘The Little One’ has had a roller coaster of experience over the past two weeks  because, as we know…’what goes in the body, eventually has to comes out of the body!

Which takes me back to the issue of the protein.   Both the radiologist and the chemo-therapist have suggested that “The Little One” drink over the counter protein drinks…Boost, Ensure…etc to help inject additional protein into his diet.   Yet here is the puzzlement…radiology suggested that “The Little One” drink as much as possible, while the nurse in  chemotherapy suggested no more than one a day?   “‘The more protein drink, the more likely for you to experience constipation”, said the (chemotherapy) nurse.  “Drink as much as you can as the protein drink will build strength, it is good for you” said the radiologist!

Confusing…YES!!!   Both “Team Members” believe their philosophy is correct; yet both Team Members do not have to deal with the after-effects of  chemo, radiation, or the liquid protein drink.   Remember…what goes in the body, somehow has to come out of the body.  The stress is only heighten when we receive mixed messages on how to resolve these uncomfortable symptoms of diarrhea and constipation …all at the same time!    Both of our team members are steadfast in their professional opinion; both of the team  only deal with the cause (cancer) not the effect (chemo/radiation etc) which makes me wonder, how this “team” should function?

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Most successful teams work within a structure and communicate well; this team has to act in the same manner.  This week, The Team will be instructed to provide an updated care plan for  The Little One with clear directions on food and liquid intake; we will engage the dietitian as well.

We are two weeks into the process and there is a clear pattern on how The Little One is reacting to the treatments.  His best two days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays;   His worst days are Thursday thru Saturday as the Chemotherapy passes through the body. (The addition of the protein drink on Thursday thru Saturday only heightens the dualistic symptoms that he experiences on these days.)  Sunday and Monday seem to be the neutral days,  yet he is tired and worn out both mentally and physically from the  calamity of the chemotherapy passing through the body.

Good teams make adjustments, while listens to messages both verbal and non verbal, along with providing  consistent communication so that everyone involved in on the same page.  This is no time for individuality or for ego; no teams wins on mixed messages, no team wins as an individual.

We  continue to move forward with hope, with determination and most of all…with love.

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Filed under Advocate, Bow Tie, Caregiving, Chemotherapy, Esophagus Cancer, Medical Office, radiation, Uncategorized

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