Monday, March 8, 2010

Cca #7: Patient Manual

Something you don't know is that I was just in the hospital for almost 3 weeks to treat my CF. There are things that I learn from every hospital stay, and sometimes I just learn the same lesson again and again. So I thought I'd share a bit of that with you this week.
This is my formula for being a good patient without being just another body for doctors to put meds into.
  1. Be gracious. These people are here to take care of you and help you get better.
  2. Ask questions! If you don't understand something in the slightest you need to question it. Ask questions, and get educated. Knowledge is power after all.
  3. Trust yourself. You are your own best ally. Knowing yourself and your body is the key to a successful doctor/patient relationship.
  4. Make sure you know what your protocol is. You will be surprised how much you don't know about it until you ask someone what it is.
  5. This is the one that I have learned too many times to count; Stand your ground. If you don't agree with something, or someone is refusing to accept what you say, repeat until understood. I have had to do this with all sorts of people in the hospital. It's the one that comes up most, and if you don't stand up for yourself and what you think is right, you will definitely feel victimized by the end of a hospital stay.
I want to elaborate more on each of those just so you can get the full idea.
When you are polite and gracious your doctors will like you way more, which definitely makes them more inclined to listen to anything you have to say. And that directly connects with #2, 4, and 5. My mom always tells me "Phoebe you can catch more bees with honey." It is so true!
Understanding your condition and your protocol are required to have any power over your illness. When you understand your illness you will be able to identify things that are happening with your body, and you will understand why you need to be adamant about treating it. Some kids I have seen don't really care what it is, or what needs to be done to treat it, they just go about their lives feeling like victims of something they can't control. Maybe you can't control the illness, but you can control what you are doing to make things worse or better. So ask your questions, be curious about your condition, and treat it accordingly.
Over the 19 or so years that I have been going through my own illness, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned how my body works, what it likes, and what it doesn't, what it responds to, and how far it can be pushed. I have also learned how much strength it really does take to get through everything I have to. I can honestly say that if I didn't know what I know about myself I would not be here today. It's because I know my body that my doctors are able to treat what they can't see. It's because of #3 that I am who I am.
In my experience the best thing I have ever done is stick up for myself, and my rights as a patient. There are lots of people on your case, and sometimes they do not coordinate with each other. You will probably have to repeat most of what you say over and over again. So make sure your story is straight, and you state what you think. It is not fun to be patient road kill. Believe me when I say that if you are not being your own advocate and standing your ground you will get steam rolled.
All of the things I have listed in this blog tie together in some way. So keep it all in mind when doing anything with medical professionals, and you will for sure make it out a happier patient. We are not just fighting for our lives, we are fighting for the best care, and if we can't act accordingly than we most likely won't get it.

No comments: