Speaking the language of trust
When your child is very ill, you really have no choice but to trust the health professionals who are caring for her.
This was my situation last week when I took my daughter to the emergency department on our local doctor’s recommendation. Our doctor couldn’t work out why my daughter (A) was displaying the symptoms she had and for a few hours, neither could the staff in emergency.
To cut a long story short, she has been diagnosed with Addison’s Disease which is a rare condition and to make it more complicated, her symptoms did not fit the typical presentation.
I experienced a few of the most agonising hours of my life between the time the registrar in emergency told me that the possible cause of the symptoms was a tumour and the time the endocrinologist told me that the most likely cause was an adrenal or pituitary malfunction with tumour a long way down his list of possibilities.
When the CT scan results were normal and various blood tests confirmed the probability of Addison’s Disease, I felt a bit more weight lift from my heart.
No-one would choose to have Addison’s Disease but it’s a better diagnosis than a tumour.
I know a lot more now than I did a few weeks ago about endocrinology but it’s still not very much. I have little choice but to trust in the knowledge and experience of the doctors treating A.
I have no reason to doubt their knowledge and expertise but admit that there were a few moments when I just wanted to bundle her up and take her home from hospital – away from cannulas and drips and blood tests – but I knew enough to understand that my love was not enough to treat her problem.
To bring this blog back to the realm of education where it usually lives, I quote John Hattie who wrote about home-school collaboration that it is when parents are able to “speak the language of schooling” that their children’s educational outcomes are positively influenced.
I don’t speak very much of the “language of medicine”. I have to trust those who do speak it and luckily for us, A is being treated by professionals who understand it well.
Parents who don’t speak the “language of schooling” have to trust professional educators. We are more likely to be trusted if we demonstrate that we understand and speak the right language but are also able to effectively “translate” for those who don’t speak it but have a right to understand what their child is experiencing.
Photo credit: Item 73713, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 2613-07), Seattle Municipal Archives.
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Abingdon: Routledge.