I am more than “Who’s next?”

I have had two surgeries (an oophorectomy and then a radical hysterectomy) and am healing well according to my gynecologic oncologist. Before I start chemotherapy, my incision needs to finish healing and all my tests need to be complete. Last week, I had a CAT scan and EKG and today I had lab work done at my local medical center.  The resounding theme that keeps coming to me is that more than anything, I want to be treated as a person and not as “Who’s next?”

My doctor nor her staff fall into this category but others who work in medical facilities are guilty of this impersonable approach.  I am referring to the person who completes the registration process so that tests can be done as well as others who perform the tests.  These employees have a revolving door of new faces sitting in front of them throughout their workday.  I understand their need to “keep a distance” so as not to get personally attached to patients.  I also understand that there are time constraints and they don’t want to cause a back-up of patients and lose precious time.  However, plain ol’ common courtesy has evidently gone by the wayside.  No eye contact.  No “Good Morning.”  No “How are you feeling today?”  Just “Who’s next?”

If these hard-working individuals would realize that they are the first people I see when I come in for what are deemed “routine tests,” perhaps they would change their demeanor to be a bit more pleasant and potentially diffuse a somewhat stressful situation rather than exacerbating it.  These tests or procedures may be “routine” to them because they see them/perform them all day, everyday.  They are not “routine” to me because I am not “routine” – I am one woman who has a name, who has feelings, who happens to be a cancer patient that needs to have these tests done, and who would like to be seen as such rather than as “Who’s next?”

A simple greeting and some eye contact would be welcomed with open arms by this gal who must endure “routine tests” on her road to recovering from cancer.

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