Being Your Own Advocate With COPD
An advocate is someone who supports a cause. Who speaks for you?
Hey, what about me?
Have you ever thought that you would need someone who supports you and speaks out for you? Does that mean that you are a cause? It can mean exactly that. Whether you see one doctor or five, there are going to be times when you want to say, “Hey, what about me?” I have said that and was prompted to pick up the phone. If I want something done, I talk to the nurse. She/he is the best person to reach out to unless the facility has someone else that’s dedicated to being the go-between from the patient to the nurse or doctor. This person can be called an advocate as well.
Times I advocated for myself
A few of the times that I have had to advocate for myself:
- When my pulmonologist wanted me to take medication and when my regular GP (general physician) wanted me to take something else, I made my decision. Of course, I erred on the side of the pulmonologist, which was a mistake, since I only saw him once every six months or more. He was six hours from me. My GP was local, and he was that one who had my care and ended up changing my medication when I had an exacerbation. It was the right decision.
- With reoccurring respiratory infections, I said that it was time for a sputum culture. It was pneumonia and with a change in medications, it cleared right up.
- My allergist wanted me to take eight allergy pills a day. That seemed like a lot of medications. I contacted my doctor who said, “take one, two at the most per day.” I don’t see that allergist anymore.
Living in a rural area
Since I live in a rural area, we have one hospital and two clinics. There are different doctors and PA’s to choose from. The choice is what’s so nice. I consider advocating for myself too. There are specialists that come periodically from bigger clinics and hospitals. How nice that is. No need to travel, especially to drive. My husband can’t always take me to these out of town appointments, so this is perfect. At these clinics, they do CTs, MRIs, echocardiograms, injections and more. Periodically the equipment is brought in. We can get second opinions as well. So this works.
Advocate - that’s empowering!
It’s amazing how freeing it sounds to be called an advocate. Empowering is a good word. Because each of us has a right to take part in our care, we have choices. We can choose our doctor, what medications we take, and what kind of treatment that we’ll receive. This doesn’t mean that we should object to everything. No. It means that we can ask questions about our care and we can work with our doctors to achieving our best care. After all, the doctor is the expert. After all, too, it is our body.
Have you been an advocate for your own care? Share if you would like. We would like to hear from you.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to COPD?