As I continue my discussion of what it means to be an empowered patient, please keep in mind that sometimes the patient is empowered because of the family members who are involved, Sometimes an empowered patient requires empowered family members.
An empowered patient makes suggestions. Again, that is easier said than done with some doctors. However, if you see a test or procedure that needs to be done or repeated, it is in your best interest or the best interest of your family member to make that suggestion to your doctor, even if that doctor does not always appreciate them. Just think about how much you might regret it, if you don’t.
Because I was so involved with my parent’s treatments, medication, and tests, I knew which tests had been done and had a good idea (because I had asked question) when they needed to be repeated. Because I was always polite, never condescending in my tone when I made sugges Dr. B took my suggestions well. Dr. A, not so much. However, in my mind it didn’t matter. My parent’s care was more important than my feelings, or the doctor’s feelings.
An Empowered Patient asks for things. This especially applies for a hospitalized patient, but is also applicable in other situation, doctors offices, testing situation, etc.
When my grandmother was in the hospital this past fall, the doctor decided that a tube needed a tube put down her throat. The nurses had tried to do it when Mom was first admitted, but were unsuccessful in getting the tube in place. For the second attempt, her doctor decided to ask the radiologist to do the procedure, using a camera to guide the tube down her throat.
Because Mom had been in tremendous pain, and because, well, because she was 96, and because I’d couldn’t stand the thought of her going through that procedure alone, I went with her as she was transported to the radiology department. I walked into that area as if I had been there many times, never leaving Mom’s side. The technicians did not ask me to leave and I didn’t offer. However, when the radiologist came in, I did ask to stay. By then I already had the special apron on and had taken my place by my grandmother’s head and was gently stroking her hair. I did everything I could to convey that I was not going to be a problem at all. The radiologist gave me permission to stay and so I did. This would never have happened if I had not been bold enough to ask, then Mom would have had to endure that procedure alone. Sometimes you must be ‘nicely’ bold. (my daddy would be so proud).