Well-being or ability to work?

Since fall 2016, I'm a regular contributor to the magazine Yliopisto-lehti. I write columns, based on my experiences as a professional, an expat, and even simply as myself. Articles are translated and published in Finnish, but I'll be publishing a translation of my pieces in English here on my blog.

Well-being or ability to work?

(originally published on Y / 01 / 19)
When I was 17, I confessed to my doctor: "I have an issue: I cannot help yawning". For days I had yawned two or three times per minute. Not fatal, but quite annoying. The public sector doctor looked after my whole family and knew me since birth, as it's common in Italy. Smiling to himself, he immediately understood the issue was a symptom of stress. He knew me well and he was aware I was naturally anxious and very committed to my studies. He did not prescribe any medication and advised me to take a few day break. I did and my problem disappeared.

Now as an adult, I got involved in the Finnish medical sector. In the public clinics, you hardly meet the same doctor twice, while in the private ones - if you can afford them - you have no idea whom to book an appointment with. Over a year ago, I started feeling pain in my feet. The occupational doctor sent me to a specialist, with all the insurance limitations. I got bounced from one specialist to another, reduced to a pack of notes that often they do not read. No one wondered why the issue even started, the only goal being numbing the symptoms, with heavy anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone shots. They want me to function, not to heal.

My issue is still there. In the past year, it got worse and my workplace, my insurance, and the public medical sector have invested money with no results.

Without lingering on the emotional impact of this experience, I believe this anti-holistic and dehumanising approach by the Finnish system is very inefficient. It would bring better results and well-being if medical doctors would approach a patient as a person, with no rush and with a true intention to listen.

Paola Elefante

Digital Scaling Project Manager at Plan International. Proud mother & wife. Shameless nerd&geek. Feminist. Undercover gourmet.

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