Thursday Health Thoughts: How to be a "bad" Patient Successfully

January 16, 2014

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Several months ago I wrote a Thursday Health Thought post entitled, "How to have a Successful Doctors Appointment". Since that time I have learned so many things about not just having a successful doctors appointment but also about being a patient successfully. Along this long and winding road on my journey to full health I have learned (the hard way) that not every doctor is going to be helpful and sometimes I have to become a "bad patient" for my own health. At the end of the day the old saying is true: "you have to be your own health advocate". How true. So in the next few weeks I wanted to share with you some tips on how to be a "bad" patient successfully. This will fly in the face of normal, modern American medicine and I am not advocating being a mean or nasty person. Instead I want to try and offer some tips for you as a person who is ill or for you a mom or dad who is just trying to get the best health care for their child, or for someone that you know. I hope that this tips help you! PLEASE let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and answer anything that I can! 

For today, I wanted to share with you the "three golden rules" of being a bad patient successfully. 

(1)  This is a business deal. This was probably one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with and honestly I am not sure why. At the end of the day you are paying this person who is supposedly an expert in their field to help you. This is a business transaction. This is the exact same as you hiring a lawyer, buying food at a grocery store, or buying a car. You wouldn't expect anything less than the best at one of these places and there is no reason that you should expect anything less than the best from your doctor. (I mean, really - would you pay for moldy or 1/2 eaten food from the grocery store? NO and neither should you accept "moldy" advice or treatment from a doctor.)

(2) Ask lots and lots and lots and lots of questions. I can't tell you how many times I would walk out of a doctors office (before I got seriously ill) thinking- wait, what did he/she say? Often times I would walk out and not get my answers because the nurse/doctor looked annoyed that I was asking questions. You know what? I am sorry, that is there responsibility. When I was a teacher I couldn't just ignore a question because I thought I had explained something "perfectly", no I had to learn and work on a new way of explaining the same material. This is the same thing- you are paying these people and they need to be able to explain to you what is going on with your health. Remember at the end of the day- it is your health and you are going to have to live with your body so ask lots and lots and lots and lots of questions. Still don't understand? Ask some more.

(3) Do not worry whether your doctor likes you or not. I know, this is hard because really most of us do want to be liked by people. BUT you are not paying your doctor to like you. You are paying your doctor to help you get answers, find a solution, and be able to move on to better health. Remember - this persons job is to help you get well. 

Check out Next Week's Blog post for three more tips on how to be a "bad" patient successfully! 

1 comment

  1. Great tips!!! I love the example of being a teacher and not ignoring questions and I hate it when doctors look annoyed when you ask a lot of questions- although I've only had one do that thankfully! Number 1 is a good thing to keep in mind, especially if you are in the hospital paying a butt load!