I’ve wanted to write this post for some time now but wasn’t sure how to go about it without sharing my story which, at this very moment, I can’t really do because there are some things going on in the background (icky legal stuff) but that’s ok, because I’ve realised that I don’t really need to be able to tell my story to make my point; it’s much bigger than that. I wanted to talk to you all about the importance of having ownership over our bodies and our health. Too many times in my life I’ve felt really let down by medical professionals (doctors, nurses, specialists etc.) and I know of many others that have felt this too. Not feeling heard, being dismissed or misdiagnosed or too quick to medicate and it’s just not right. We all need to start standing up for ourselves and become more educated and assertive when it comes to our own health. Here’s how to do it:
- First step is finding a GP that you love. Yes, you should love your Doctor. There are some really awesome ones out there and we shouldn’t settle for any less. It is so, so important to have a doctor that you trust and respect and who also respects you. After a pretty awful interaction with a GP last year, my sister and I embarked on finding a new family doctor. We asked family and friends for recommendations, which is a good starting point, but then we also made appointments to check them out for ourselves. Do this. Shop around for a family doctor and don’t stop until you find someone who you feel completely comfortable with and whose beliefs align with your own.
- Remember that you know yourself and your body best. If you feel like something is wrong don’t stop until you get an answer or at the very least, feel that it has been fully investigated. The same goes for your children; you know them best and as a parent it is your job to advocate and speak for your child when they are too young to do this for themselves
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask a lot of questions; ask them until you feel comfortable and confident in the answers and you understand completely what is being said. Do your research (just make sure it’s from a reputable source, not Dr Google) and become educated and informed about your body; knowledge is power.
- If you feel you want or need it, get a second opinion. There is nothing wrong with doing that.
- If something happens or is said that just doesn’t feel right, speak up and keep speaking up until somebody listens. Doctors are in quite a powerful position and unfortunately, sometimes this power can be abused which is not ok. Doctors are also human and make mistakes too.
Have you ever felt unheard or dismissed by a medical professional? Do you have a great family doctor?