Let’s Talk About Finding a Doctor
What do you expect from a doctor and how do you lay the ground rules of managing your COPD? We know that all doctors are not created equally. Most are true scholars as they hold a medical degree, but do they show consideration, benevolence, and compassion for their patients?
This is a tough question as most of us have accepted being treated poorly by medical professionals who told us our problems were always because we were overweight. We tolerated bad behaviors and we got more of what we do not want. So, how do we change this around?
When I first asked my doctor for a spirometry test, he looked at me like I had 3 heads. I had been a lifelong smoker, had pleurisy several times, and had pneumonia twice in the last 2 years. His reaction made me feel like I was taking advantage of the system and wasting its resources.
August to October
He finally agreed to refer me for the test in August of 2015, but he never read the results or got back to me with the results. Finally, in October, I put a call in to get the test results, and low and behold, I had stage 4 COPD. I quit smoking that day.
The main reason I was interested in getting checked out was the fatigue I felt every day. I was working mornings until noon at the time. I would come home, have lunch and be off to bed for a full 4 hours. Then I would turn around at night and go to bed by 10 sleeping straight through till the alarm went off.
My days were just a revolving door of how much time I could spend in bed. I had 3 pregnancies that didn’t make me this tired! When it finally came to a head, I had a heart attack because my lungs were too weak to support my heart. I was put into a medical coma and vented for 3 days.
Waking from my coma, my daughter was beside me. She is a social worker and she guided me through the medical red tape. She told me my rights as a patient and taught me how to speak up nicely to the doctors and nurses to get what I needed. She guided me to keep a journal of what was happening and the answers that were given to me so we could put the entire picture together.
For the first time in my life, I felt like I was the most important person in the world. She told me that I deserved to be treated properly. She taught my husband and my sons what I needed and how to care for me.
Looking back, I would still be accepting subpar health care without her help. If you don’t have a daughter as a social worker, you can insist on access to one through your doctor. Social workers have your best interests in mind, a plethora of information, and will always point you in the right direction.
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