I want to start with a story. When I became unwell, I was shunted from specialist to specialist, and continuously told that there was nothing wrong. For me, when I was being sick most days and in severe pain, this was very confusing. I was told by one doctor that I needed psychiatric help, and there was nothing physically wrong. I developed extreme anxiety. I thought I was going crazy. But deep down I knew something was wrong. And so did my parents.We kept fighting for an answer. I suggested to the doctor that I may have endometriosis, and was told that I "wouldn't have that". Months later, after being told by many family friends that I probably had endometriosis, we went back to the doctor, and simply said "I want to be referred to a gynaecologist". And finally I got my answer. It took a huge amount of perseverance from both myself, and my wonderful family.
You know your own body, and you know when something is wrong.It's important that you fight to be heard by your doctors. Some ways you can do this are:
- Bring a support person to appointments, who can listen, back you up, and help you make any important decisions. This can be anyone from a family member to a close friend.
- If you are unhappy with a decision, speak up. Ask what the alternatives are.
- Ask to be given more information. When you are fully informed, you are in a better place to understand and make decisions.
- Ask for a second opinion. If you're unsure about a doctors advice, ask to seek another opinion from someone else. Different doctors have different ideas about treatment for the same conditions.
- Make sure you have a good relationship with your doctor. It's so important that you trust your doctors appointments, feel comfortably speaking with them, and feel included in the decision making process. If you're not happy, change doctors.
- Speak to your doctor about other aspects of your life, and your identity, to help them get a better understanding of what it is you're working towards in terms of treatment, recovery, and management.
Overall, it's your body, you know it best, and you have the right to good treatment. Speak up, and take control of your management.
How can you take more control of your medical treatment? Have you had a bad experience with not being heard by doctors?