Updated: Jun 22, 2022
Or, said less imperfectly: Medical appointments for trauma survivors don’t have to totally suck, and we're all going to talk about how.
I love talking with you, hearing from you, and having conversations about interesting and not-always-easy things with you. As you probably know by now, you can count on me to say the thing, ask the question, and search for the answer.
Which is why I’m so freaking excited to be bringing to life my long-held dream of hosting Imperfect Conversations.
To steal from my own website, no conversation is perfect. Some are more complicated, challenging, demanding—and rewarding. That's the kind of conversation we're looking for here. We'll address complex subjects like,
"How can I be an ally without screwing it up?"
"How can—or even should—I write a Land Acknowledgement?"
"How, in an era of privacy, consent, and police interference, can I help someone who may be suicidal?"
“Are your pronouns any of my business?” (Follow that arrow back up to the ally question.)
... and more.
Imperfect Conversations will be led by relevant experts, professionals, masterminds, and coaches (and maybe you?), held via Zoom, and have an accessible fee structure (free to start, donations welcome).
This will be a safe-enough place to unfold some of these topics and poke at them from different angles, with the gentle guidance of those experts.
The first ImpCon is planned for Thursday June 30, a lunchtime learning session from noon to 1:00pm Eastern Time. The topic is ‘Empowering trauma survivors and their families during medical appointments,’ or said imperfectly, ‘How not to leave a doctor’s/dentist's/ radiologist’s office triggered and in tears.’
Which is exactly what happened to me, and when I mentioned it to Naomi D. Williams* (MPH, CHES), she immediately saw the opportunity to share this on a wider scale, with viable, doable solutions.
In the past two months I’ve experienced one very invasive professional massage that involved no consent or dialogue at all, and two medical testing procedures wherein I was treated like a non-human: The technicians moved my clothes, tucked a towel into my underpants, rolled me onto one side and then to the other, manipulated my limbs, all without a request for consent, a kind word, or a warning ('I’ll be doing this, and then this, okay?'). I’m a relatively outspoken person (Excuse me!), but when I’m triggered I’m about as useful as a squirrel with an espresso machine. I froze throughout the experiences (mind, body, and vocal cords), and then got in my car and cried.
Can you relate? Have you ever had those times when you wish you could speak up, stand up, leave, let your feelings be known, only to find you're more of a Mary than a Karen (Karens have their positive points too)?
I wish this never happens to you, or me, or anyone; but it does happen, and all too often. So into the dearth of trauma training for medical professionals we’re tossing a helpful conversation, and some tools.
Naomi is going to offer some thoughts and strategies on how to help us all have our needs met—mainly in medical situations—and the good news is these skills are transferable.
And we want you to know that ImpCons are safe-enough spaces: We will try to accommodate the needs and comfort of trauma survivors. Cameras on or off, as you choose. Speak, don't speak: your choice. We'll try not to overload you with info or resources or ideas, and we'll provide a recording—audio only—of the sessions for those who want to access the information again.
I hope you can join us for this Imperfect Conversation—and please let me know if you have questions, topics, or expertise to share for future ImpCons.
I can’t wait to hear from you, and to talk about imperfect and interesting and not-always-easy things.
SIGN UP HERE TO JOIN US ON JUNE 30th.
*Naomi D. Williams MPH, CHES, is on a mission to empower and teach individuals and families living with disabilities how to live their best life, now. She believes individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can and should lead an exceptional life. Naomi uses her experiences as an author, grief coach, yoga instructor and professional adapter to inform her work as a community, educational and medical systems navigator. Naomi was the 2020-2021 Public Policy Fellow with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and a principal in the 6,000 Waiting documentary (2019). She is an active member of the PFCCpartners Patient and Family Advisors' Network and a Consumer Scholar with the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs. Naomi has presented on local, regional and national platforms about the balancing act of being a productive member of society while raising a differently-abled child.