Let me begin my stating, this post is not advocating that you begin dispensing medical advice to everyone. And I would never advocate the practice of medicine without proper training and credential. I mean, would you want to have your appendix removed by someone who has never had surgical trainer.
What I am suggesting is that you move away from the traditional healthcare model in which you present to the doctor’s office, describe your symptoms/condition, then accept his or her diagnosis without question. This is your health, your body, your life – you have the right to
“Research your own conditions and treatment alternatives, ask questions, and seek second opinions with impunity. Leverage the expertise of trained pros, but don’t allow it to eclipse your own informed instincts about what’s best for you.”
Take me for example. For months, I have had a nagging feeling that something was not right with my body. I was constantly battling severe constipation, fatigue, feeling depressed even though things were going great in my life, my skin was always dry – to the point that I was applying lotion up to 10 times a day, extremely sensitive to cold and a few other symptoms. In January, I went for my annual exam with my OB/GYN, telling her my symptoms, she ran a few tests but the results showed normal. She suggested a few changes in my method of birth control, diet, and exercise and life went on….
But the symptoms remain. So last week, I called my general practitioner to schedule an appointment for Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. This time, I’ve done the research. I have print-outs of possible diagnoses that match my symptoms, a list of blood work that I would like to have run to rule out the conditions, and a list of questions that I want to ask during the visit.
I am lucky in the fact that my GP is very open to listening to her patients, and advised that patient act as advocates for their healthcare. Sadly, many docs aren’t. And until patients are willing to practice medicine without a license the healthcare model won’t change.
I will advocate for my health…will you do the same?