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You’re FIRED: Empowerment

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So I did something last night that felt pretty good. It was one of those things where you sit at the computer screen, compose a message, and then let your finger hover over the send button for minutes, perhaps hours, reading, re-reading, debating, editing, changing, second-guessing, and then… finally, you decide: What the hell…. and you send it. Well, I did that last night.

I logged into the online chart system that my doctor’s offices with UTMB uses to get appointments, cancel appointments, view test results, etc., and I cancelled my follow-up appointment with the “Dear Doctor” I wrote about in this blog post. Keeping in mind that I only have 500 characters to work with, this is what I wrote in my request to cancel that appointment: (more…)

Dear Doctor:

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I came to you today to ask you for help. I have been very sick since I was hospitalized last year. Once all the critical, acute things were dealt with, my pulmonologist believed with all his heart that I had a sleep disorder of some sort. He sent me to a sleep lab in January and I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It was news to me, because I’ve never had problems with sleeping, don’t wake up gasping for breath, don’t stop breathing in the middle of my sleep (yes, I’ve been watched), don’t snore (yes, others who sleep with me will attest to this), don’t have daytime sleepiness, don’t have difficulty concentrating, don’t have any of the other symptoms that go along with sleep apnea.

In fact, the technician at the titration sleep study in March said I was having apnea episodes while awake… I find it hard to call something sleep apnea when it happens when I’m awake, but I mentioned this to you and you blew me off.

Anyway, I’ve known people who had sleep apnea: an ex boyfriend, my best friend, my daughter, my deceased stepfather. All of them, when treated for it, improved greatly. Quality of life was dramatically increased. Quality of sleep was dramatically increased. They felt better, slept better, looked better… all the way around, it was a wonderful thing. So okay, maybe I don’t have the same symptoms they do. Maybe my sleep apnea is less severe or something. So maybe this therapy will work for me too, and I just don’t know it. So I’ll give it a try. I mean, I didn’t like having to use oxygen when it was prescribed, but when I did use it, it made me feel better–lots better–so now I wear my cannula all the time, without any non-compliance, because I see how it improves the quality of my life. (more…)

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