When I saw this cartoon, it struck an unfortunate but familiar chord with me, especially because I have a “rare” disease that a lot of medical professionals know very little about.
I have found that when you are faced with a health crisis, you have to be your own advocate.
You need to learn everything you can yourself and never EVER be shy about asking your healthcare providers for clarification, a better explanation or even a second opinion.
If you have a doctor who doesn’t like an educated patient….run for the hills!
If you have a doctor who is offended by your desire for a second opinion….find a new doctor…fast!
Once you receive a formal diagnosis, get a “mini M.D.” in it. Know the expected prognosis of your diagnosis. Know the symptoms of your disease. Know the treatment options and their possible side effects. And if you are really ambitious, read the latest research and studies on your disease. Have an idea of new treatments that might be available.
Get copies of your medical records. Make sure the doctor is documenting your symptoms accurately. You’d be surprised how often this might not be happening.
Go into your appointments armed with knowledge so that when the doctor talks to you, it doesn’t sound like a foreign language.
Ask to have the results of your tests, labs and procedure results explained to you. It amazes me how infrequently these things are explained to us by our healthcare providers unless we ask. You have an absolute right to know!
Doctors need to listen to what we say about what is happening to us. They need to accept that sometimes their tests may not match what we say. They need to be open minded. If you have a doctor who doesn’t listen then the outcome of your healthcare is a disaster waiting to happen.
When it comes to your health and your medical needs…be your own champion! Fight for yourself.