“Are you currently taking any other medications?”
I usually sigh after someone asks me this question. It’s usually the young nurse who is still looking at her paper when she asks the routine question. She’s in such a hurry to whip through height, weight, and symptoms that medications is just another one of the questions.
I sigh and give her the rundown about Sjögren’s.
“How do you spell that? And what is that for?” She crosses out her chicken scratch and makes every attempt to sound out the foreign words.
Once I start spelling each prescription and giving an in-depth description of what exactly each one does, she usually looks up. I say usually because it’s pretty much the same drill every time.
Just last week a doctor was actually the one questioning my medications and my condition. A doctor.
“I actually have an autoimmune disorder called Sjögren’s,” I said as I was sitting on my freezing and bloodless hands on the end of the exam table, swinging my feet as I tried to explain.
“What is that exactly? I’ve had a lot of patients asking me…you know, since Venus Williams has it,” she said. Her face was intrigued. She wasn’t caught up in my records or her notes or anything. She looked me in the eye and sat down to learn all about it.
I’m not an expert of all cases, but I’m certainly an expert on my case. I always struggle with where to start in my explanation, but I usually just start at the top of my body and work my way down. There are a lot of years to explain and a lot of unknowns to reveal, but I try to deliver it all with a smile.
It’s nice to be able to educate doctors.