All my life, I have been in and out of doctors’ offices. I have been poked, prodded, stuck, and drained. This is my experience with handling doctors, diagnoses, and feeling yucky.
I guess I should start at the beginning. When I was five months old, I was hospitalized with Rhoda Virus. (I don’t exactly know what that is, but I know I almost died.) They gave me a medication which was later recalled due to evidence showing that it may cause heart defects. When I was two, my mom noticed that I was crouching a lot and saying, “Mommy, Me Me don’t feel good.” She ended up taking me to the cardiologist and insisting that I have an echogram of the heart done. The cardiologist only did it to pacify her but what she saw on the screen was shocking. (She almost fainted, just saying.) She saw a huge hole with blood rushing in between chambers. I had an Atrial Septal Defect Repair done in May of 2002. My health problems haven’t stopped since.
I have had pneumonia more times than I can remember, my sinus cavities developed early which has caused hundreds of sinus infections, an allergic reaction to the Gardasil vaccinations which caused intestinal spasms, migraines since elementary school, and even pleurisy (which no 13-year old is supposed to get.) You name it, I’ve probably had it.
Currently, I’m dealing with almost constant migraines, low magnesium levels, as well as a kind of odd diagnosis. Because I am such a high achiever, a perfectionist, and a lover of community service, I was in upwards of 14 extracurricular activities (plus my school work). I had to be here, there, and yonder, and I had to study for this and that, and I had to get and A on this and I had this meeting at this time and this appointment on this day, I wasn’t listening to my brain telling me to rest. My sub-conscience basically caused my brain to shut down. (There’s a lot more to this story and I’m happy to share if anyone is interested!) Today alone, I had three doctors appointments, so I’m pretty used to the waiting room.
How do I stay calm? How do I communicate effectively with doctors? How do I keep track? Just keep on reading and I’ll tell you!
Doctors can be pretty intimidating and scary. One way I stay calm is to remember that their job is to help me. They are only there to make me feel better. If you feel like a doctor isn’t listening to what you are saying, SPEAK UP. They can’t help you if they aren’t understanding what you’re telling them. And remember, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion if, even after clarifying, the doctor still doesn’t seem to listen. Sadly, there are some doctors that only hear what they want to. Even then, you always need to be respectful. If you don’t respect them, they probably won’t respect you very much.
When communicating with doctors, it is very important to share every symptom you are experiencing. Even if it might not seem important, if it is out of the ordinary, you need to tell the doctor. It is also good to remember that you get better at communicating with doctors the more you do it. You also must remember that only you know what is happening with your body. No matter how much they’d like to be, doctors aren’t mind readers.
With any chronic problem or acute problem, it is good to take and keep notes at all doctors appointments. I like to note the name if the doctor, date, my blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and height, as well as any medications the doctor adds and what is talked about. Also, if you have any problems, like irregular blood pressure, regular migraines or headaches, or rapid weight loss or gains, a log to keep track of these things are always a good idea! That way, the doctor has more evidence to base their diagnostics off of.
Some other good things to remember are always remembering your insurance card, always writing appointments in a calendar or planner, keeping an updated list of medications, and basic good health measures. (Like drinking plenty of water, eating a balanced and healthy diet, taking multivitamins, etc.)
I hope this helped! Stay tuned for more posts!
Kalie, Baby Peach