Advocating for Yourself
I learned A LOT when I was in and out of the hospital over 8 weeks after my incredibly BUMPY fertility journey (HERE are the details if you’re interested!).
During my first (of many) hospital stays, my first “roommate” asked me “HOW do you get your doctors to stay to talk to you!?! Mine barely stay for 2 minutes!”
At first, I didn’t know how to answer her.
In all honesty, I barely noticed because I was asleep most of the time because I was heavily sedated from my intravenous blend of pain management!
As the day went on, I made note of my doctors coming to my bedside and discussing my case with me for at least 10-15 minutes, and her doctors going to her bedside for only a couple of minutes.
And as I paid attention to their conversations versus my conversations, I noticed a stark difference: the questions that we asked our doctors. Over my many ER visits and hospital stays over the next weeks, this trend repeated over and over again.
The questions that my roommates and/or their families asked were usually something along the lines of:
- What is it?
- What can we do about it?
- When can I leave?
Versus my questions for my doctors were:
- What are our DDXs? ie. what’s on the list of conditions that we’re trying to rule in/out?
- What tests should we run to rule in/out XYZ?
- When can we schedule the next tests? What does the timeline look like? When can I expect to have this test done?
- What are the results of my tests (that we ran yesterday/today)? Can I have a copy of them?
- What are my treatment options? What are the benefits, drawbacks and risks?
I fully realise that I come from a privileged place coming into it with a healthcare background BUT this just means that I need to educate more and more people about how to help themselves navigate our healthcare system!
Being sick and in the hospital is an incredibly difficult and stressful time for both you and your family & closest friends.
Your doctors and your healthcare team are a vital piece of the puzzle who can help you navigate through the system quicker and easier if you know what to ask them!