StoryCorps at SHC: Brittany Postle & Ian Carroll, MD

It feels very lonely in the healthcare system.

Brittany Postle (BP): One thing you did that I really appreciated was having a frank talk with me about how you couldn't treat me until my anxiety was more under control. I think what you said was, you were worried I'd crawl off the table away from you at one point, which I honestly, probably would've. I've probably tried it since then while under some anesthesia. I remember feeling at the time so upset because what I was hearing in my head was this is another physician who's letting me down and not seeing me. And I'm so grateful that you pushed me to work on my mental health to get to a place where I could handle that, because you were correct, I would not have handled the patch as well, but it also just got me to a better place in my life.

It's very hard to be told to just wait three months and lay in a bed flat when you're working towards getting your job back or your career on track or going to university and being competitive in that market for the first time since your early 20s, and you're almost 40 now. And it's enough to almost drive you insane because you're perfectly fine at one point and suddenly you're horrible. And so it feels very lonely in the healthcare system, I would say.

I was so worn out from going to appointment, to appointment and not finding the source of what was wrong, and not to get a label on it, but to get better quality of life. And that's something else that you brought forward to me, is you don't need necessarily a label or a cure, we need to get you to a place where you have better quality of life. And once I began focusing on that, it really changed how I looked at my journey and how I look at medicine in general. And so I think when I'm looking at the patients that I volunteer alongside, that's a common theme I hear, is that we really want improved quality of life not necessarily a cure, because many of us don't have a cure waiting for us. 

Ian Carroll (IC): Yours is a story of hope, but also one of mature hope, that it's going to take perseverance, that all of the limitations are not biological, some of them are systemic, and that you really have to keep trying. But in the setting of that perseverance, even with the limitations that exist, there remains hope. And for people who are as sick as you were, sometimes that hope and that work will allow a small miracle to happen. And then that moment that you're in where you feel desperate is not your forever moment and you get to move on to better ones.

BP: Having the disabilities patient, family and advisory council, it makes me think that it really is an important voice that should be heard. 

Sound Editor: Amy Hu

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