I am not a doctor. I’m not a nurse or a medical professional of any kind. I am a person who has sought answers to many questions, has spent quite a bit of time in medical offices and hospitals, being studied, poked, treated, medicated, being opened and sewed shut.
I have traveled down many dead ends and logistical mazes in the search for proper care. I feel that what I have gone through in my life has prepared me to be who I was meant to be – someone who helps others. If my challenges can in any way help someone going through a tough time, then the struggles will have some meaning.
This is the first in a several-part series of thoughts regarding how to navigate the medical world, starting with: feeling sick.
It doesn’t matter if it’s pain, difficulty breathing or heart palpitations, sudden or gradual worsening of a previously just annoying symptom, a lump or bump or an injury – if something isn’t working right, if part of you is “sick”, you go to the person who can fix it.
Where to start – State of Mind
Think about a time when you felt something was wrong, physically. Wrong enough to think, “this doesn’t feel right,” or worse, the panicked feeling that you might die if you don’t seek help. Fear of the unknown can paralyze the best of us, especially when something is medically wrong. At this point, all we want is:
- Relief from whatever the h*ll is making me feel this way.
- A diagnosis. I want to know why this is happening.
- To know that I will be okay.
It’s important to start your health care journey with an open mind. Everyone seems to have a similar story about themselves or someone they know. Googling your symptoms plants all sorts of ideas in your head, and soon, you’re freaking out about the worst case scenario.
One thing that I have learned from years of experience as a patient is that the fear of the unknown is always so much worse than having a diagnosis in hand. At least with a diagnosis, you can start a treatment plan. Knowing is half the battle. Knowledge is power.
In the next part, we’ll talk about a few scenarios you might find yourself in.