This is a follow-up to my last post, in which I described how visualizing one’s own medical symptoms and progress in the form of a timeline (in addition to other visualization formats) might help people better understand what is happening to them – and help them communicate with health care practitioners.
I recently took a print-out of my own medical timeline (which I had created from memory) to a new Doctor I was seeing, hoping that the visualization of my symptoms and medications would help him better understand what I was experiencing and thus better understand how to treat me. The new doctor was Dr. Richard Ash, a medical doctor in NYC who is known for embracing alternative therapies.
As it turned out, he spent less time with the visualization than I had expected. Because he had seen similar complications in the past, he felt confident that he knew what was going on with me before I even had a chance to show him the timeline. I also realized that Doctors and their staff communicate through their own language of scribbles and shorthand, and they wouldn’t necessarily want to take any extra time during an office [...] continue the story
This week I’ve taken on the task of visualizing my own medical history and symptoms, in hopes of making the most of my appointment with a new doctor. Below is the full story (and visualizations are at the bottom).
My medical story: the background
BEFORE: Me, circa late 80s, with full smile functionality
AFTER: this picture is so awesome in so, so many ways. My family, circa 1993; I am the one in the top middle, with poor smiling power.
One early winter day when I was 13, I was sitting at the dinner table with my family laughing at something my brother had said. My mom stared at me and asked why I was making that face. “What face?” I said. She said my smile looked different, like a grimace. I ran to look in the mirror in the bathroom. I looked into the mirror and smiled back at myself, but it was like the corners of my mouth wouldn’t stretch to the sides. I looked more like a dog baring its teeth.
Such began my voyage with the auto-immune disease, Myasthenia Gravis. This non-degenerative disease causes muscle weakness, mostly in voluntary muscles, and often affecting facial [...] continue the story