The Big Issue : Edition 438
If you have a question for our Agony Aunts, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org If your letter is longer than the Great Wall of China we reserve the right to edit it. Milly Parker is the Yooralla Disability Ambassador. At 21 she acquired a brain injury (ABI) as a result of a car accident. It changed her life...for the better! Sick of being told she was broken and useless, Milly gave the world a two-finger salute and is now a successful businesswoman, public speaker on disability issues and mentor. Her business ‘Happy Yappers’ has won numerous awards and is her pride and joy. For all the goss go to www.happyyappers.com.au Father Bob Maguire is the irrepressible ‘mad priest’ (self-described). When it comes to the Catholic Church, this selfless man of God is a perpetual pain in the you know where. Although the church hierarchy was done with him, Father Bob wasn’t done with the church. In 2003 he established the Father Bob Maguire Foundation which continues to feed, support, nurture and uplift those who need a helping hand. Money is always in short supply so please consider supporting Father Bob’s mission. You can read it all at www.fatherbob.org.au My family doctor is on extended sick leave so I was referred to another doctor at the clinic where I’ve been a patient for many years. Unfortunately, this doctor was dismissive of my health concerns and basically accused me of using my disability to gain attention. I feel very angry but I don’t want to lose contact with my old doctor. What should I do? – Anita, 44, Frankston Ask the Agony Aunts People with disability know what it is like to be treated as second class citizens. The only way it will change is if we raise our voices and demand respect. It isn’t always easy to do but change can be fraught and can occasionally come at a cost. Keep your questions coming and our Agony Aunts will do their best to answer it. ADvertISeMent the views and opinions of Milly Parker and Father Bob expressed in this article are not intended to represent professional advice. Says Milly: It’s not uncommon to be treated badly by the medical and other professionals. On one occasion I’d had a gutful and fought back by grabbing my file and walking out of the consultation. In the taxi drive home I wrote everything down and posted it off to my doctor. I told him that I refused to see this specialist any more. Like me, you are entitled to complain if you feel that you’ve been wronged. And you are within your rights to expect an investigation by the clinic and to be told of the outcome. I’m sure your doctor would be horrified and would applaud your principled stand. And maybe others at the clinic will get the message that everyone is entitled to respect and consideration. Says Father Bob: I am in awe of the medical profession because their skills are a gift from a compassionate cosmos...aka, God. But remember, the devil is in the detail. While a doctor or nurse may learn everything he or she needs to know about healing, they might have taken a sickie when the class was taught about compassion. I wouldn’t take the insult sitting down (pardon the pun if you’re in a wheelchair). Let the clinic know what was said and why you’re upset and ask that a note is included in your file for your original doctor to see. But maybe offer compassion that was denied to you by suggesting that the doctor probably didn’t mean to offend you. We can all learn from our mistakes.