Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Buddy System

When my wife was recently in the hospital after bariatric surgery, I learned that one should have an advocate with them while in the hospital. As a patient you are often drugged to the gills and therefore unable to properly assess your own situation, let alone articulate it to the staff. Even with me as her advocate, we had problems until I figured out the way things worked. She would have had a much rougher time had her mother and I not been there pretty much the entire time.

Recently it has come to my attention that most people should take a buddy to their doctor’s office also. Granted, if you are going to the doctor for erectile dysfunction you might not choose your mother as your buddy (or even your buddy as your buddy). Perhaps your partner would be a good choice.

Most of us, especially if we happen to be ill, will either not ask all the appropriate questions or, equally as important, will not retain all of the information a typical doctor gives us. And should we have an illness which is not responding to treatment or are given only a vague diagnosis then we are even less able to keep the perspective that one needs when dealing with these issues.

I’d recommend two things:
A) Pick a doctor you trust and with whom you have a good relationship. If you lie to your doc or if your doc treats you like you are a big fat waste of his time, then why bother going?
B) Bring a friend to go with if this isn’t a routine visit. Your friend can ask questions you had not thought of and remember things later that you forget.

If you have go alone, take notes. Be proactive; your doctor has good days and bad days like anyone else – stuff gets missed and stuff gets misdiagnosed.

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