By: Red Hot Mamas
Published: August 14, 2015
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
Dear Red Hot Mamas,
As a patient advocate, I always suggest the importance of women gaining the upper hand in their medical care. It’s important for us all to know how to protect ourselves, to know what’s going on with our health, and to control our destiny for better health in the future.
Oftentimes, we take more care in the summer of our gardens growing those wonderful vegetables and flowers, than we do our medical issues. It’s so essential that we all involve ourselves in our healthcare and openly communicate with our health care providers. Sy Syms (owner of a well-known clothing store) once said “An educated consumer is our best customer”. This should apply to us as well. We all need to become an educated medical consumer and not go through life in blind faith, but instead become as informed as possible and actively participate in our own health care.
Take care of yourself by adopting a healthy diet and exercise program- these efforts are often the best medicine. Pick the right doctor. I’ve sometimes even asked a doctor whom they would see if they were sick, and sure enough, they have recommended a great doctor. So don’t exclude asking for physician recommendations and hospital affiliations, too. Again, be vigilant about your health, and become a very active participant in your healthcare before a medical crisis should it arrive.
Here’s some practical tips:
- At your healthcare providers visit, bring a list of questions about your health concerns. You should tell your clinician, right away, what you want to go over today. Please don’t wait until you are ready to leave the room to ask these questions.
- Bring an up-to-date list o all the names of the medications (prescription and over the counter), and herbal remedies you are taking.
- Make sure you understand what is being told to you. If you don’t, ask questions until your problems are resolved. You might say to your clinician :Can you please simplify things for me, I’m not a Ph.D., so I need clarification as to what you are saying”.
- Make sure your name is on any lab test you might have and, when these reports are returned to you that it is your lab report, not someone else’s. Be aware, sometimes mistakes happen, so you must pay attention. And, if the laboratory results are abnormal, make sure to have it repeated. It’s not unusual to have two tests or readings.
- Ask for copies of every test you have had and keep them in your files.
- If you feel uneasy about anything, get another opinion.
- Lastly, make sure your healthcare provider listens to you, hears you, is qualified and competent to help you, and that you feel comfortable sharing your deepest thoughts with. If you apply some of these practical tips, it may help to create not only lasting good health for you, but a powerful partnership between you and your healthcare provider.
Good health to you all,