My father is a retired physician. My mother was a nurse. My grandfather and great-grandfather were physicians. All were highly skilled and beloved in their communities. My parents, in particular, are some of the most courageous and kind people I know. Their integrity– personally and professionally– is off the charts. In short, I am a fan of Western medicine.
What I offer is this: I don’t like a medical system that marginalizes patients who advocate for themselves. Doctors seem to hate it when a patient offers an opinion about what may be wrong with them. Still, based on living with and around doctors, the reality is a lot more complicated than that. Doctors feel tremendous constraints by the (minimal) amount of time allotted for them to examine patients, order tests and determine a treatment plan (while having their hands attached– by law– to a computer). They feel “controlled” at times by the insurance industry and “the business of medicine.”
And to be fair, doctors do see people who come to them with crazy, unsubstantiated ideas of what is making them sick. I’m sure it’s frustrating and feels like such a waste of time and money.
On the other side, I am not only a patient. I am a consumer. Our family pays a lot of money each month to have health insurance. We have paid thousands for out-of-pocket expenses. Because of this, I feel that it is my responsibility to provide my caregivers the best descriptions I can of my symptoms, to give them pertinent family medical histories and to be informed as much as I can about my health from reputable sources. (Hence, I gave Dr. Rookie and my primary care team copies of family member’s Cunningham Panel tests as well as copies of the blood work that clearly revealed several current infections that they had at the time of testing positive for PANDAS.)
To what degree can I control a doctor’s receptivity to my advocacy regarding my own health and out of pocket expenses? That’s a big question. I can improve in my communication. I can improve in my process of advocacy. I must be willing to own my part.
Categories: The story continues