October 30th, 2011
I had intended to write a series of blog posts on Survivor South Pacific, showing the analogous healthcare lessons that would help you get your needs met with your provider. Guess what? I couldn’t see the analogies as clearly as I thought I would, and finding them was too much of a brain twist. The episodes didn’t play out the way I thought they would. This idea that things don’t play out the way I think they will presented a valuable opportunity to find some analogies about dealing with your health:
Time Changes Everything: The long story short is that life doesn’t happen the way you think it will (and of course I include myself in that). Obviously, I have no control over what happens on Survivor. Similarly, life happens and many things we don’t control. When you’re feeling depressed, anxious or in pain, how you feel can literally change in the blink of an eye. Angry one minute, hopeless the next, grateful it’s not worse, frustrated – I get that you may feel like you’ve wrapped yourself around the axle in an endless loop. You may have given up on the idea that this will ever pass. And I promise you that you are capable of feeling better and getting your life back.
Trust Yourself to Find Your Way: Ask yourself whether it’s time to stop “trying so hard to figure it out”. Does it makes more more sense to stop comparing your situation with others and instead get more information on a different level? That may look like anything from getting a second opinion to praying for guidance: you can trust yourself to figure out what you need if you’re willing to ask and listen in a patient attentive way.
Don’t Trust Others Blindly: To really trust others takes time and discernment.
When it comes to dealing with your doctor or therapist, there are two questions to ask yourself:
- Is your healthcare provider competent to help you?
- If your healthcare provider is competent, are they reliable?
I suggest you need to answer both questions with a hearty yes!
An incompetent provider is useless to you. A provider who isn’t reliable but is competent is also not a match. Nowhere is it written that doctors or therapists are inately worthy of your trust. It’s up to you to define what competence and reliability mean to you and whether a healthcare provider has indeed earned your trust.
If you’re frustrated dealing with your healthcare provider, here’s are some thoughts to consider before you decide whether your provider is untrustworthy:
- Did you clearly ask for what you wanted? (Be honest here. Asking for help means telling your provider exactly what your symptoms are and what help would look and feel like. Using Patient Power can help you do this)
- Did your doctor or therapist understand your needs? (Don’t cheat! What did they say or do that helped you know they got the picture?)
If you haven’t been clear with your doctor or therapist, the Appointment Preparation Worksheet can help you do that in the future. If you’re not sure that your healthcare provider has understood your needs, Patient Power will help you with that. And, as always, feel free to contact me if I can help you communicate more clearly to get your needs met.