Are you a great patient? Did you realize that the way you approach your medical care will have a huge impact on how quickly you heal from Lyme disease or any other health issue you’re dealing with?
Before you throw tomatoes at me I want you to know that I’m well aware of just how sick many with tick-borne diseases really are. I remember all too well how sick I was and how I feel when I have a relapse.
I’m also aware that you may not have the energy to put towards being a great patient because your pain is off the charts, your mental clarity is greatly impaired and you’re merely surviving every minute. For those of you who fit this category, you’ll need an advocate, a loved one who can be your voice and do the work for you.
For the rest of you and for those of you who are advocates, I have some tips that will make you a great Lyme Patient which will help you and your doctor reach your healing goals more quickly.
A Great Patient Wants to Understand What is Happening to Their Body.
As a woman who wants to approach health care more naturally, I’ve spent a great deal of time researching and trying to understand how the body works and more importantly how it heals. If you just want a pill and a quick fix you may find yourself suffering needlessly from side-effects and secondary health problems. A great patient takes the time to learn and understand what is the root cause of their weakened health. We oftentimes mistakenly believe that Lyme disease should be our focus when in reality we need to repair a broken immune system.
A Great Patient Learns to Take Ownership of Their Healing
If you’re going to heal, you must want to heal! You must put forth the effort and you must take ownership of your health and your healing. No one can do this work for you. You can ask for help or you can hire help but no one can do the work for you. You have to understand that it’s not up to your doctor to get you well. It is absolutely up to you! You must do the work, do the research and be compliant to whatever protocol you choose to follow.
A Great Patient Must Build a Health Team
In order to heal from such a serious illness such as Lyme disease or any of the other tick-borne infections, you must build a team around you. This team can consist of some of the following; family and friends, a medical, naturopathic, holistic or alternative care physician, Acupuncturist, Health Coach, Nutritionist, Herbalist and the list goes on. You absolutely can get well with only one really great doctor but your chances are even greater when you surround yourself with a team of knowledgeable health care practitioners.
A Great Patient Learns to Communicate in Doctor Language
Communicating in “doctor language” doesn’t mean you know all of the medical terms, every part of the anatomy or even the scientific names of medication. Learning to communicate in doctor language means that you can describe, explain and communicate your symptoms in a non-emotional way. When you approach your doctor with emotion instead of the facts your doctor will automatically think you’re stressed or depressed and will want to put you on an anti-depressant.
Learn to communicate facts; “Two years ago I began having joint pain after a fever that lasted a week. My joint pain progressed to memory loss and then I began having heart palpitations.”
My favorite way to communicate this is by creating a medical notebook or a health timeline that may list dates, symptoms, frequency and a list of medications and supplements. Having this information available makes it easier for the doctor to see a clear picture of what you’re dealing with.
A Great Patient Isn’t Afraid to Ask Questions or Make Suggestions
I firmly believe that a great patient should ask as many questions as possible. If you’re researching before you go to the doctor then you should have a list of questions written down. Alternatively, a great patient isn’t afraid to make suggestions based on their research. Be reasonable, be open, and sometimes you must be firm. If you don’t understand something or if you disagree with what your doctor recommends politely discuss these concerns.
A Great Patient Has a Positive Attitude and Treats Their Doctor and Staff With Respect
There’s nothing worse than a patient who comes in angry or demanding. I’ve never worked in a doctor’s office but I sure have spent my fair share of hours in the waiting room. I’ve seen those who come in with a chip on their shoulders and I’ve seen those who come in and light up the room with their smile and friendly conversation. I’ve observed how those who are positive and respectful get much better treatment than those who don’t. Do the best you can do to make your trip to the doctor as pleasant as possible.
A Great Patient is Compliant with Their Protocol
Your doctor cannot go home with you and ensure that you’re eating well, limiting toxins or taking your prescribed protocol. You have to be responsible for following the plan and doing it the best you can. If you’re taking something and you have a negative reaction, call your pharmacist or doctor immediately. Learning what works for you is a very important part of healing. Everyone is different, even within the same family, so pay close attention to how your body responds.
A Great Patient Keeps A Medical Notebook
I’ve mentioned this before but it’s so important to keep a medical notebook. Don’t leave it up to your doctor to keep all of your records. Keep a notebook where you file your notes for each doctor’s appointment, labs, protocols, food log and a symptoms chart. Having this on hand benefits you when you need to review your medical history, change doctors or simply want to look back to see how far you’ve come. You are allowed to ask for reports of every doctor’s visit as well as a copy of your labs. Think of all the money you’ll save because you won’t have to pay a fee for your records when you need them.
A Great Patient Isn’t Afraid to Change Doctors
Sometimes it’s necessary to fire your doctor. They work for you, you’re paying them and if they’re not willing to answer your questions or take the time needed to find the root cause of your problems they are probably not the doctor who will help you heal. You need to feel comfortable with your doctor and you also need to be able to trust them and their ability to diagnose and treat you.
At the same time, you don’t want to doctor hop just because you’re not improving as fast as you think you should.
Healing takes time, persistence, and sometimes a change of protocol. As long as you feel your doctor is knowledgeable, helpful, compassionate and willing to work with you, then you should give him or her time to get to the root cause of your health problems.