This may or may not be a long post today, folks. Not sure how much of a “rant” I’ll be going on; but I wanted to write today about the importance of speaking up for yourself and your loved ones as regards health and medical care. As a mom, I’m used to advocating for my children – having spent years going in and out of the pediatrician’s office with them. Now that they’re older, I’m spending more time in the outer waiting room but I’m still actively involved in advocating for their care. My husband, bless his heart, has to have the medical stuff and questions written down for him if he takes one of the girls to a med appt – but at least he’ll go, right?
As many of you are aware, I’m also now at the point of starting to be more involved in my parent’s health care decisions. My mom recently signed the HIPPA disclosure forms and provided a copy of the health care proxy to her dr’s office, so now they can actually speak to me….. (sigh! – I find this very aggravating for a myriad of reasons and were I to start listing them I would be wayy off topic and seriously ranting – very quickly. So I’ll save that for another time) I can tell you one thing I find TREMENDOUSLY frustrating is the older generations unquestioning acceptance of whatever their doctor tells them. And, their seeming inablility to be more of a squeaky wheel when needing answers to their questions. For example, I asked my mom the other day why some tests had been ordered for my step dad and why he was still in the hospital. Her response was: “We’re just doing what they tell us to do.” I find this lack of curiosity disturbing, with apologies to Lord Vader 😉 . Its almost like they’re becoming lemmings heading towards the proverbial cliff. I’d at LEAST like to know WHY I’m jumping, but apparently they do not. I can say with certainty that my mothers answer (above) was not related to any privacy concerns, because the entire family knows whats been going on…. so yeah, its frustrating. He’s been stuck in the hospital over a week now and we don’t seem to be any closer to any answers for him whatsoever. Consequently, I will be writing down some questions for my mother to ask his health care team. If she waits for these people to call her back she’ll be waiting till hell freezes over, so I’ve suggested she ask at the desk when she visits, and make at least 2 phone calls daily, until she gets some answers.
As far as my mom’s health care goes, she had some labs drawn when she had her annual, but she doesn’t know what they were for so I will have to contact the office and ask them, and then get the results. Mom doesn’t call to ask, she figures they will call her if anything’s wrong. Which of course they would, but I just wonder why she wouldn’t want to know her lab results. Am I anal? Probably. But I had a very bad experience a few years back with a severe anaphylactic reaction to sulfa. I mentioned to my doctor that I thought was allergic to it and he cursorily checked my chart – nothing noted. So he prescribed the med, and I ended up in the ER and admitted to ICU overnight. Come to find out, the nurse had not brought the information forward from the previous page in my chart – where it was clearly noted. Needless to say, the doctor offered profuse mea culpas when he saw me on rounds the next day. And now, if I say anything – the doctor pays attention.
My parents generation is one that does not question a doctors’ authority at all, forgetting that the doctors are human and just as fallible as the rest of us. We know its up to the patient to advocate for themselves and their loved ones, to be an active part of their health care team instead of just the recipient of health care services; ask questions, which can only improve their health care in both the short and the long run. Now if I can only get my Mom to understand this and start doing it……