We reached downtown just as the sun began to set. San Francisco at dusk is a bustling place. Brakes squeaking, fluorescent lights flashing and illuminating windows of bars and restaurants. Rush hour traffic cramps the streets. Street lights begin to light one after the other. You can catch a host of different people walking during this time. A young twenty-something wearing a beanie and a messenger bag, coffee in hand, surely heading to a poetry reading or open mic night. The business savvy woman in heels hustling to…

sick

Patient engagement is a trendy topic for healthcare providers – the latest spin terminology for “patient compliance” – as in how do I get patients to follow treatment protocols? Take better care of themselves? Especially now that payment for my services may be negatively affected by bad outcomes and poor patient satisfaction?

I promised myself I wouldn’t be Debbie Downer (wah, waaaah). I have neglected to write because I have nothing good and hopeful to say. But today, I changed my mind. I read:   “Maybe your [experience] was grim and horrible, but grim and horrible is okay if it is well done.” -Anne Lamott “Bird by Bird” (4).   My experience is real. And I will document it accordingly.

I read an article recently that said the average length of time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis of autoimmune disease is 12 to 15 months. That may not seem like a long time to you, but to me, it is a lifetime. Twelve months of vague, yet debilitating symptoms. 1 year of multiple specialist appointments a week. Countless blood draws, MRIs, EMGs, neurological exams. ER visits. Out of town specialists. 20 different medications. 40 different side effects to those medications. In 8 days, I will reach that…