I wholly support the medical doctors who take care of me. I respect their training; but I also know that they deal with hundreds of patients, and I only have to deal with me. So I made it a point to be proactive in my healthcare. I learned as much as I could about the conditions I was diagnosed with. I learned what treatment protocols are being used and what was, and was not, working for me.
Along the way, I learned 5 life HACKS that may help you.
- Research and educate yourself, on all of your medical conditions. Including symptoms, current treatment protocols and/or testing to triple confirm the diagnosis.
- Always get a copy of your medical tests, scans/MRI/CT/x-rays – and the reports that go with those. I have a medical file drawer (it started as a folder, now it’s an entire drawer) where I keep all of my medical related “stuff”.
- Keep a daily journal of your pain, symptoms, food eaten, alternative therapies used and medication taken. Rate your pain on the 1-10 scale both before any medication/therapies, and then again after. So you can see the effectiveness. What are your symptoms today? No two episodes will be exactly alike, not your symptoms. What did you eat today? How much water did you drink. Alternative therapies can include: ice packs/heating pads, soaking in a bath, massage, napping, stretching/yoga, TV/reading. List type and dosage of any medication you took for the pain. Come back after any alternative therapies and/or medication to note how well they worked and what it brought your pain level down to. As you continue to journal, you may notice some patterns that could help you better manage your chronic illness.
- Have a loved one, or friend, go with you to doctor appointments. This is for two reasons: 1. if you aren’t feeling well, they can drive you. 2. You have someone else hearing what the doctor is saying about your health condition. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, or “brain fogged” and you miss something important the doctor says.
- If you are not happy with the care you are receiving, then speak up! Get a second, third or fourth opinion. Even if the diagnosis is the same, having a doctor who you resonate with makes office visits a bit easier.
What do you do to manage your own healthcare? Comment below.