If you needed to have repairs or upgrades done in your home chances are you shop around. You call two or three different people and compare the service they offer with the price and choose what works best for you. When we needed to get the outside of our windows washed I had 3 different people come and tell me what they would do, how they would do it and what they would charge and then made my decision. We don’t think twice about this.
However when it comes to our health, especially if we are in a health crisis, we tend to just do whatever the doctor recommends without question. Turns out that isn’t always the wisest course of action. Now don’t misunderstand. You chose a doctor and of course you need his recommendations. But that doesn’t mean you totally disconnect and forget it is your body and ultimately your responsibility for taking care of it.
Several years ago I found myself in a crazy health crisis (you can read about it here). I had very little choice about some of those decisions. I had to trust that surgery was the best option and it was definitely the right choice. I wouldn’t be here today writing this post if I hadn’t. However, I still asked questions during my recovery and was not shy about asking them to make changes.
After coming out of ICU I developed sepsis which is a very serious condition that can be deadly. When the nurse came in to change out the antibiotic I asked which one. When she said Levaquin it sent off all kinds of red flags. You can read why in this previous post. I politely but firmly refused it and asked that another antibiotic, not in that family of drugs, be used instead. While the doctor wasn’t thrilled, he chose a different one and it worked just fine.
I share all that to say that due to an over-burdened healthcare system, medical errors and misdiagnoses kill an estimated 500,000 American annually and 100,000 Americans die each year from prescription drugs. While a prescription is sometimes necessary, we still need to be proactive and let our health care provider know if it is something we do not want to take and why.
Some doctors, like the one I had, will honor your request in a respectful way. Others, like a periodontist I was going to, will not. He wanted to give me an implant to replace a back tooth. I told him I didn’t want to do that. He asked me if I had a “good reason” for that decision! I explained I don’t want metal in my body and it is too expensive. He became very belligerent and nasty and berated me saying I didn’t know what I was talking about, that the metal used doesn’t cause any problems, etc. Finally I told him just the fact that I don’t want this is a good enough reason and that was the last time I saw him.
It can be uncomfortable to raise these questions, particularly if the doctor becomes offended. But you have to push past that. After all, your health and your body are your responsibility.
How do you feel about being proactive about your health care?
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