The Way I See It: I have a terrible time communicating. Is it because I’m autistic?

Subtitle 1: Caveat: This only seems to occur when I’m trying to communicate my health issues to doctors.

Subtitle 2: My hypothesis is that most doctors do not expect the scientific dribble coming out of a patient’s mouth (mine).

Subtitle 3: Conclusion: The doctors referenced above think that they are dealing with some crazy old fool! 🙂

Subtitle 4: Introduction to ‘AusTalk’

I’ve written a couple of previous posts/op-ed’s on the importance of being one’s own Patient Advocate.

That concept is about empowering one’s self with enough medical jargon and information with the purpose of having a condensed conversation with a medical scientist, aka Doctor, in order to mutually figure out what one’s health issues might be caused by.

Why? Simple, to live a little longer with a reasonable quality of life and unfortunately most doctor’s appointments are quite brief.

I’ve been hitting a brick wall for over sixteen (16) years with doctors attempting to fine tune this approach, and I’m scratching my mostly bald head right now thinking about my failure in this process.

I have an autistic brain, and my autistic brain likes to deal in logic, facts, and reasonable conclusions based on verifiable previous research and information. This approach is sometimes referred to as ‘The Scientific Method’.

When I communicate with a doctor in the allocated twenty (20) minute consultation appointment, I generally go prepared with an agenda and bullet points to go over.

I’ve tried two different models of agendas, generic and technical. So far neither has proved to be a successful method of communicating complex health issues to qualified medical professionals.

Am I speaking in a different language?

Yes! It’s called ‘AusTalk’.

‘AusTalk’ in theory is an efficient communication language, analogous to ‘C’ Language in computer programming.

As an example, if you want to tell the computer to shut down (turn off), the ‘C’ Language code in UNIX to do this function looks like this:

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
system(“shutdown -P now”);
return 0;
}

The idea for ‘AusTalk’ to work is to cram as much information and data into a set of algorithms (doctors’ heads) and expect a reasonable answer (diagnosis) based on a set of rules (established medical facts and related symptoms).

‘AusTalk’ in theory works like the ‘C’ programming language, and could be effective depending on several criteria.

1) The model of computer (Doctor)
2) The correct microprocessor and subprograms to process the data (Medical Specialty)
3) A robust database (knowledge and experience) to run the data (symptoms) against
4) And a set of rules (medical labels (diagnoses) and correlating criteria (paraclinical data (lab reports, X-rays, MRI’s, etc.))))

The reason that I keep trying to perfect ‘AusTalk’ when communicating with a doctor is the programming variable of ‘time’.

It is quite challenging for this old fool (me) to cram forty-five (45) years of symptoms into a twenty (20) minute doctor’s appointment and expect the computer (Doctor) to spit out a result!

I’m a living, breathing, biological computer just like you are and the medical professionals referenced.

The difference is that each of us use a ‘different operating system’ to communicate called ‘life experiences and stored memories’.

Those tidbits of intertwined data are extraordinarily powerful for one personally, and if we figure out a way to communicate those succinctly they can be the puzzle pieces to solve a complex problem.

And the last important concept of ‘AusTalk’ while functioning as your own Patient Advocate is using what is referred to as the ‘Team Approach’.

The ‘Team Approach’ is very simple. It requires a ‘Team Leader’ (TL), a set of ‘Team Players’ (TP), a ‘Project Objective’ (PO), a ‘Project Plan’ (PP), and apply the variable (THK).

(TL) = Patient
(TP) = Doctors
(PO) = Diagnose health issues
(PP) = Use clinical and paraclinical data together, and not independently.
(THK) = Thinking [Stop, Look, Listen, and Think before Reacting and Spitting out an incorrect answer]

One of my favorite authors, scientists, and thinkers is a man named Dr. Darold A. Treffert, ‘Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired, and Sudden Savant’, who also wrote the introduction to another one of my favorite books, ‘Scholars With Autism Achieving Dreams’ by Dr. Temple Grandin and Valerie Paradiz.

In that introduction titled ‘Oval Souls on a Round Planet’, Dr. Treffert made a very profound statement that should be added to the current version of the Hippocratic Oath that doctors swear by when they graduate from medical school:

“Listen to the patient, he’s giving you the diagnosis” and “Never tell the patient there is no hope.”

[To be continued…]

Author: David Moore Boulware

Me = [scientist, researcher, writer, photographer, autistic savant, alter ego (Leonard (the friendly vegetarian lizard from an alien oval planet)), ...]

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