It’s tough to navigate the medical system these days. It’s a pretty intimidating world, from the grim-faced doctors, to the sterile environment of offices and hospitals, to insurance sticklers and financials concerns. That’s not to mention whatever’s ailing you in the first place.
If ever you begin to feel like you’re getting pushed around, not getting questions answered or not getting the results or treatment you expect, please remember that you are the consumer. You are likely paying very good money to receive good treatment. Unfortunately, our system is not really designed to incentivize anyone to care more about your health than you do, which is why you must be in charge of your own healthcare experiences.
See if this sounds familiar: You schedule a doctor’s appointment. You arrive, check in, fill out forms and try to explain to everyone except the doctor what symptoms you are having. You are taken to the doctor’s office, anxiously awaiting some answers and some relief. The doctor finally comes in, and as you begin to say hello or introduce yourself she cuts you off by asking you 2 or 3 questions that require only a “yes” or “no” answer. Then she leaves the office without another word. As you sit there feeling bewildered, a medical assistant comes in and hands you a prescription. And that’s it. The appointment is over.
Somewhere between the doctor’s office and the pharmacy you finally realize what just happened: that doctor just diagnosed you with something that will supposedly be eased by the medications she just prescribed for you. All with absolutely no discussion about what is wrong, why, and what options there are for treatment. Your only option at this point is to take the prescription medication or not.
This type of experience is unfortunately becoming more and more common, which is why it’s more important than ever to be your own health advocate. No one knows your body better than you do. Receiving a diagnosis by a medical professional and being prescribed and taking any medications can have very profound and far-reaching impacts on your health and your life.
Here are some ways to be your own health advocate:
1. Find a good doctor
2. Ask questions
3. Do your own research
4. Be very careful with prescription drugs
5. Be willing to work hard for your health