Last week, I discussed the fact that I tell my doctor everything. From conversations online and in my messages, I found out that a lot of people don’t have the confidence in their knowledge to talk to their doctors about certain things. I mean this even came up in my therapy session this week. It’s an epidemic it seems.
I’m blessed to have a few doctors in my squad so hearing them tell stories about the life-saving things that go unsaid or advocating for people to be to be self-advocates are important for me since I have a chronic illness. Your doctor has a wealth of knowledge but you have the MOST knowledge about what’s going on with your body. So talk and ask questions so you can have a merging of the mind. Even today my friend who is an OB-GYN did a live about contraception and it sparked a question I need to ask my OB-GYN about my IUD when I visit in two weeks. It was an issue I thought about addressing and when she mentioned that there were ways to solve it, I thought “oh let me write that down to discuss”
Questions you should ask your doctor:
Can you explain that to me in another way?
If you don’t understand something, ask for it to be explained differently. Just like you have jargon and acronyms at your job that you use and others don’t understand, so do doctors. They get into the same habits you do of not explaining these things. So, ask!
If it’s about surgery or a procedure or something that’s going on in your body, you may even ask for them to DRAW it if you’re visual.
What are the risks for this and is there an alternative?
There are usually always options.
This is your health and you have the right to ask about alternatives and risks of each. Then you can make a choice about what works for you. This could be about something as simple as flu shot methods or detailed as the method of surgery.
Do I have a choice that would not be AMA (against medical advice)?
During one of my hospital stays, I had been coughing so much blood up that they thought I may need a transfusion. My first question was “what do you test the blood for here”. It left out things that were important to me so I declined and it wasn’t against medical advice. We discussed options and I chose to wait it out another day. IF it became medically necessary and only then would I have consented.
How can we prevent this in the future?
Prevention is KEY. Ask about small things you can implement so that medical issues that are avoidable don’t happen again. It may be something you never thought of doing that could change your health in a myriad of ways.
This is also key for things like in my last example. The doctor then told me that just in case this happens again, I could have my own blood taken at another time and have it reserved just for me. Therefore, in the future, if I were in that predicament, I’d have MY OWN BLOOD to be transfused.