Today was my second excursion into “the real world” for my community based learning aspect of my project. I am volunteering at the Natural Health Clinic of Olympia, which is an office of naturopathic physicians, massage therapists and acupuncturists. The naturopathic physicians are primary care providers, and so, like any doctor’s office, there are file cabinets full of paper work: Charts.
I had never seen a “chart” before. At least, not in the medical sense. In fact, I’d always imagined they were gridded… you know, like charts… If you are unfamiliar, as I was, with charts- they are more akin to a manila folder of sorts, with papers organized in various ways; prescriptions here, insurance/billing info here, lab work here, etc.
Seeing them, organizing and filing them for an hour and a half opened the door to understanding the medical world and the health industry just a little bit more. And, allowed me to link this with literacy in two ways:
1) One can be “chart illiterate”- and I won’t venture (yet) to say that I’m not.
2) If a condition goes undiagnosed (i.e. WRITTEN down), it is not accepted, and further, if a prescription or diagnosis is missing from your chart, it is not a part of your “self,” in the Dr.’s perspective certainly, and most likely, not in your perspective, either, considering the pedestal upon which we place Dr.s so frequently, and how physically they shape our existence.
Lesson of the day: Charts are not on graphing paper.