who disappeared into those shadows
We all have voices. Some tend to be very vocal quite often and some of us tend to not use our voice. Of course we all speak but I’m referring to the voice that advocates for ourselves.
It’s a tough thing to do. Often we don’t advocate for ourselves for a number of reasons. We may have been brought up where you were never aloud to be heard. Often told to shush, be quiet. We can be raised to always respect and not question authority which extends to the people we deal with in health care. Your personality might be that of a quiet person, someone who is more introverted than extroverted. On the extreme side of things a traumatic event could have happened that makes it very difficult to speak up for yourself. And if you won’t speak up for yourself, who will?
I think also many times we don’t speak up for ourselves in fear of the consequences. But the consequences of not speaking up can directly affect you but in the short term and long term.
Why does it matter?
What does this have to do with a health and fitness blog? A lot. All of us have been injured at some point, or if not a physical injury we may have something going on with our body such as nagging pains, or generally not feeling well. What do we do? We usually visit our doctor. Hopefully it’s a successful visit and whatever was ailing you is resolved. But that’s not always the case.
How many of us go to our doctor and then leave feeling that it was a waste of time? How may of us visit our doctor and end up still dealing with the same issue months later?
Who cares more than you do
I’ve been there. And I’m sure a lot of you have too. I know I feel guilty if I start to question my doctor. And honestly how many of us know what the next step is if we don’t agree with our doctor? It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is sitting in the doctor’s office while the nurse gets the doctor. She happens to glance at her medical file the nurse left behind and sees a note left by a doctor that she’s difficult. The doctor walks in catching Elaine reading her file. He’s not pleased that the ‘confidentiality’ of the medical file on her has been broken. She is quickly dismissed without him even looking at her issue she came in for. She then sees another doctor hoping to leave all that stuff behind. Elaine is surprised to see he has her file in his hand and after looking at her file quickly dismisses her too having read the entry from her last doctor.
It shouldn’t be that way. We shouldn’t feel that there are negative repercussions speaking up for ourselves when we see any health care professional. People in the medical profession are just like anyone else in any other profession. Lousy mechanics, lousy lawyers, lousy customer service representatives, etc. We tend to hold these people in high esteem but really they are no different then us. Just like any profession, there are competent people and there are the other ones.
Take charge of you health and wellness. If after a visit with a health care professional you feel that the issue hasn’t been taken care of, go back and explain this. I always believe in giving that person a chance to hear you out. Then, if you make no progress, ask to see another professional. We have all seen stories of people, or know people who have been misdiagnosed and have suffered for months, or years, or in the worse case, have died. When I broke my foot and went to the hospital the nurse told me I was lucky that an orthopedic surgeon happened to look at my x-ray because the first doctor who saw it did not see the break. It’s not always an issue of competency either. The health care system is overtaxed and health care professionals have less time to spend with their patients. People can make mistakes when they are rushed.
If you don’t speak up for yourself, who will?
Be your own ombudsman. Advocate for yourself. And keep advocating for yourself until you feel better, are better. Ask if there is a specialist you can see regarding the issue. Don’t be that person who a year later is still dealing with the same issue. That’s not fair to you!
Be persistent and never give up. Never forget you are worth it.
Yours in health,