By Kate Dekoski
Congratulations welcome to becoming an adult! Your mom just told you, “Don’t forget to schedule your annual (blank) appt”. If you are anything like me you’re first response might be, “why can’t you make it?” She tells you that it is time for you to act like an adult and make your own appointment. You have the phone and the number to call, now what? Well, I suggest you get your planner so when you make that phone call you know when a good day/time to make your appointment for is.
Ok it reality you have probably needed to do this. What I really want to talk about is going to the appointments by yourself, scheduling tests, and maybe even scheduling surgery. Having walked this road I know it can sometimes be hard to advocate for yourself and get doctors to listen to you because you are too young or whatever to know what you are talking about when you ask about a treatment or what not. The important thing here though is to know if the sources you are using are trust worthy sources. Also be clear that you are just looking for answers and not pushing for this or that. Let them know you want to be a team, you want to have an active role in your health care.
As one who advocates for herself I have to say my biggest help is my smile, I find when you go into an appointment with a smile and confident attitude it helps and also to be insistent if you need to, keep that smile on but say, “Hey there Doc, this is my body and I do know what’s going on and I do have a say in my treatment plan”. Having a Dr. who is a partner is treatment for me is the only way it works. I do not by any means to what the Dr. says without doing my research and knowing my facts, we/I need to be comfortable with our/my treatment after all it’s MY BODY!
I’d also like to encourage you to take someone with you, it’s always good to have an extra set of eyes and ears to help you pick up on things you may miss or to help go over stuff the Dr. said afterwards. I know lately I’ve been calling on my aunt the RN to go with me. She isn’t afraid to ask questions of the Dr. or interrupt to get clarification on a point or what not. I even call her after appointments she doesn’t go with me to just to ask her advice on stuff, like my most recent appointment. At my most recent appointment the Dr. wanted me to start drugs for a condition we do not even know if I have, his logic is if my condition improved I had the condition if not something else was the cause… Yeah no! Second opinion here I come!
Most of the times I’ve gone to new patient appointments I’ve been feeling well, but if you’re not feeling up to par don’t put on a face. Let the Dr. and staff see the real you pain and all. I know I’ve gone to my old Neurosurgeons office in pretty rough shape where he admitted me directly to the hospital.
I know this is all hard and sometimes scary but it’s something we must do at some point.
Kate Dekoski, Spoonies for Life contributor, Support Group admin.