Friday, December 9, 2011

Taking care of yourself

I was reading a cancer message board about things the poster had learned that her doctor hadn't told her. I don't know where the gaps in communication are but there always seem to be some in the medical world. I don't think any of the gaps are intentional but they always seem to be there. I think doctors and nurses see dozens of patients each day and if that was me, I would have a hard time remembering to tell everyone everything I needed to say. I would be constantly asking 'did I already tell you that?'. Its human not to remembering everything.

But I have learned that it is important to ask questions, question things that seem confusing, and do your own research. And write things down if you can't remember them (my biggest problem).  I can't tell you how many times I have been taking a medication as I thought was correct to find out that I was doing something wrong. I have medications that can't be taken with anything else or can't be taken within an hour of food or four hours of vitamins. Its complicated. But my doctors have only given me details on taking them when I have asked specifically. I have actually gone through my list of what I take with what and when (its kind of complicated actually) to make sure its okay.

I have also learned that when I am scheduled for another medical 'adventure' I need to ask a whole list of questions - not the printed procedure information that they give me - about how long it will take, can I drive home, what are pain expectations. Also, what about the results - when to expect them, what we will learn from them, etc.

Finally I have learned to be proactive about my care. I ask if I really need tests or adventures. I try to consolidate appointments so I can minimize trips to the hospital. I ask for things to be scheduled for my convenience, not theirs. Its all about me and not about them.


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine was scheduled for minor surgery last week. BUT then the day before the surgery, the nurse asked if my friend took a daily small dose of aspirin. Why, yes, he did. But aspirin thins the blood, so it is VERBOTEN before surgery. Talk about poor communication between medical provider and patient! So the surgery was postponed for three weeks. Sad commentary on a lackadaisical medical office. Robin

Laura said...

I could not agree more! We call it Patient Empowered Care and make sure to ask ourselves: "What kind of care would you want for a loved one who is fighting cancer?" Our patients usually have to travel to visit us, and while we are happy to provide travel for treatment, we want to make sure that we make the most of our patients' time because we know its valuable. Here is a list of some of the questions we suggest patients ask their cancer care team: http://bit.ly/uWNlAC. Great post! - Laura, CTCA

Cancer treatment Florida said...

This is a great list. May take a while to work through, but thanks for the thoughts-Keep submit more...