Friday, November 13, 2009
Patient "support persons," and a reader poll!
Allied blog plug: If you aren't reading Every Saturday Morning, you should be! Last month, this post brought me close to tears, tears of anger at the way patients and escorts were subjected to not only simmering tension, creepy or violent threats, and verbal aggression, but also stalking and actual physical violence. Really, I just sat there afterward and felt like my bones were shaking from indignation.
But today I read this post that brought me to tears of gratitude, about a moment when strangers came together to help a woman in need -- not just the band of escorts and certainly not the band of "sidewalk counselors" (anti-abortion protesters and harrassers), but people inside the clinic, friends and drivers of other patients.
Now, I'm not saying I cry at the drop of a hat or anything, but another thing that always does it to me is seeing two patients' respective support people bonding in the waiting room, during the several hours the patient may need to be in the clinic offices -- for example moms sharing the experience of being a parent to a patient, or one offering to run out for some food for both of them or helping to entertain the other's grandchild who had to come along to the clinic.
We hear a lot about the isolation of needing a stigmatized procedure, and I certainly do see lots of women who don't want anyone to know, don't want to sit with "the others," come without a support person even if that means no Vicodin and no sedation, or cross their arms and avoid any eye contact with other patients. But when patients can reach out to each other, and when they have warm and committed support people who reach out to one another or even to other patients -- well, it does happen, and I still get wet eyes every time.
Question for readers! How many of you have been a woman's support-person during her clinic visit? What was it like for you -- were you uncomfortable? Did you make friends? Was the wait really long? Was it easy or hard to be supportive that day?
Or, if you've had an abortion and are comfortable talking about it in comments, did you have a support person, and if so how were they?
I'll post a poll on the right of the home page, if you want to tell us more anonymously, but consider ALSO telling us in your own words, which is always so great to read!