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In the movie, The Counselor, Cameron Diaz’s character is accused of making a “cold” comment. She responds (paraphrased), “It’s the truth. Truth has no temperature.”

While I have a love/hate relationship with that movie, I love the quote. The truth is what the truth is. However, I’ve come to understand that we seldom (if ever) have the whole truth of any situation.

You may be familiar with the story of the blind men and the elephant. The blind man who felt the elephant’s trunk thought elephants were like snakes. The blind man who felt the elephant’s legs thought elephants were like trees. The blind man who felt the animal’s ears thought elephants were like fans. And so forth. None of them were wrong, but neither were they all correct either. They just didn’t understand the entire truth of the elephant.

Similarly if a botanist who studies plants, a zoologist who studies animals, and geologist who studies the earth were to visit the same remote island, their findings would be quite different. It’s not that they visited somewhere differently, it’s that their experiences are filtered by their perspectives.

I am feeling like that elephant or that island.

I have been sorting through my medical records relating to my disability claim. I have one doctor who sees me as a hip and knee replacement, another who sees me as a shoulder replacement and rotator cuff surgeries, another who sees me as torn retinas, yet another who sees me as a high blood pressure / high cholesterol patient. Even my (wonderful) rheumatologist sees me through the lens of RA. I have twelve different doctors that I see on at least a semi-regular basis, and they all see me differently based on their specialty and the condition for which they treated me. Even my primary care physician, who has the closest thing to a holistic overview to me as a person, tends to see me as a snapshot or perhaps a transverse slice. They treat me for what I need that day and, while I try to keep them in the loop with what’s going on elsewhere, they only really have glimmers of the rich tapestry of medical attention I get outside their office.

Unfortunately, unlike the elephant or the island, I need to be seen as a whole person with all my warts and titanium. It’s critical to build an understanding of my overall health picture so that (1) my health care providers understand any complicating factors and (2) the disability insurance people get a clearer picture of my capabilities (or lack thereof).

Wish me luck. Sometimes I feel a lot like the blind leading the blind (elephant).

I hope that whatever elephants are in your room today are friendly ones. Thanks for checking in.

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