Alex says that my healthcare needs to be project managed.
It’s like managing a build. He said. I can’t lay the tiles until you paint the walls and if you don’t finish on schedule then where will I put the fridge which is being delivered at 5pm. (He’s an arborist not a builder by the way).
Funny that he should describe it that way, given I am actually a project manager in ‘real life’. But it is an accurate description and just like any project, clear communication is key to the smooth running from start to finish.
There are a number of new specialists, allied health professionals and nurses involved in my care at the moment and when communication breakdowns, chaos can ensue.
Yesterday it was my job to project manage. I had made the appointments. I had received the phone calls. I had the list of questions to ask. I was prepared to hear the answers.
We turned up to see the cardiologist and my appointment was not in his diary. The receptionist told me that she had heard that I was having chemo the day before and therefore would be too sick to come in for a visit. That’s why she had the cardiologist call yesterday, but not to worry because they had arranged to have me admitted in two weeks…..
Umm I’m sorry. Booked in for what!?? What am I being admitted for?
I calmly told the receptionist I was not going to have heart surgery without a cardiologist laying eyes on me. Mmmm…. Let me see what I can do. She said. Within 20 minutes we were being ushered into see the specialist. We were finally able to have a healthy discussion without multiple parties being involved and the ‘he said, she said’ becoming a problem.
He ran through the three options to manage the fluid surrounding my heart. I voiced my concerns about his preferred option and we were able to come to an agreement on how to move forward. He was happy and so was I. He had all the information, so did I. Clear and transparent communication.
I work in big pharma and we work constantly on improving cross-functional communication. (I guess it would be similar in most other big corporations). Without it things start to fall apart. When you work in a silo you don’t have a complete picture. You make decisions on incomplete information. It can slow projects, cripple relationships and in my case, be detrimental to my health.
I say all the time I want to be treated holistically. As a whole. I see how hard that can be when multiple specialties are involved. And in my job I only see the surface of hospital politics and the mechanics of the healthcare system. It is a beast. It takes on a life of its own. So how do you get your medical team to communication to each other? And communicate well. How do you ensure they have all the relevant information? How do you ensure they have your best interests in mind? How do you do that when you are not always feeling 100%?
I am still working that out. Taking ownership and being responsible for yourself is a good start. Having a great support team, who understand your wishes and needs, is a bonus. Using your project managment skills that you have acquired over your career ….Priceless? I feel like I am writing for a Mastercard ad. Crazy chemo brain has officially kicked in!