Call Me Dr. West – Self Advocacy
We might as well start by saying that I am not quite yet foolish enough to go back to school for my Ph.D. so this is not a real Dr. West that is coming about. But I must say that sometimes I do feel like I have a medical degree or I should be the one in the room with the medical degree. This blog post is inspired by all the recent posts about people not being listened to in regards to their own health.
I feel like I must say that there are some amazing doctors out there who are your biggest advocates and there are some out there who just don’t care. I would probably say that that is true in most industries but when you have my life in your hands it’s a problem. Make sure you do your research and get a doctor that you’re comfortable with and who listens to you. I have some pretty dope doctor friends so my standards are high because they are GREAT!
If you didn’t see the recent article about Serena Williams almost losing her life so pulmonary embolism when she gave birth then you should DEFINITELY check it out. I had a similar situation happen to me, actually twice.
The first situation that I had was actually before I was diagnosed or even hospitalized. I essentially had to argue with a doctor to make him give me tests. Why did I have to argue for the test? I had noticed that my breathing had been declining over the past few months before I saw him and I was coughing up blood. SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. I started to struggle to do the everyday activities I had been doing every single day for a while. When my lung function test came back normal, he tried to tell me that it must’ve been just because I was fat. (Mind you my lung function is STILL normal) So, I had to take a deep breath, cock my head to the side, and say “well how does that work when I just lost 75 pounds? Do you lose weight and start to not breathe as well”. So then he was like oh I didn’t know that. Sir, you didn’t ask. You would think before blaming someone’s weight you would get more details or at least try to investigate why I was having troubles and coughing blood.
He ordered the test which I did and I tried to follow up with his office several times but I kept being put off. The test that he ordered and that he got the results for immediately (because the labs told me) actually showed what was wrong with me and what was going on; that there was some abnormality in my body. My Maryland Pulmonologist actually reviewed the scan (because I had gone and got a copy when I didn’t hear from the doctor to take to someone else) and confirmed that it had been there then.
However, the first doctor didn’t bother to check up on it even with me calling his office. By the time they called back to schedule another appointment, I had ended up in the hospital the first time – almost dying because of it.