How do you handle medical mayhem? Do you rant and rave, turn angry or bitter or perhaps turn inwards clamping down on your feelings, shutting out the world? I have two friends, both single, going through major medical mayhem right now. Not only are they dealing with life threatening, difficult symptoms to diagnose but the isolation from loved ones as they go to the emergency room, testing centers and hospital, because of the safety limits set up for the pandemic makes an already difficult situation worse.
One of my friends is the primary care giver for her 92 year old mother in law who recently became ill during the pandemic. She was unable to take her from the Assisted Living to the emergency room because she, herself, is immune compromised. The aides who take care of her mother in law were told that if they took her to the hospital they would not be allowed to return to the assisted living center to care for her for two weeks because they would be considered compromised from having been to the hospital. In the end they had to call transport services to take her there by herself. Because of the lock-down my friend’s only means of staying in contact with her mother in law has been via multiple phone conversations each day. But after the first two days in the hospital my friend was unable to reach her. The phone in her mother in laws room rang busy or not at all. My friend spent most of the day trying to reach her, hoping for the best but thinking the worse.
My other friend has a difficult past medical history with current alarming and debilitating symptoms that could be part of her past history but might be a new issue. Her past history not only limits what the physicians can and cannot do but never the less poses a threat to her life for what normally would be considered routine procedures. With several specialists all conferring with her but not necessarily with each other; fear, worry, and anticipation fills her heart and soul.
So back to my initial question – how do you handle medical mayhem?
For me, once I realize that I am in the midst of some serious Medical Mayhem my “go to” is to get organized. I’d like to share with you my fall back list which I call my “Be” List
- “Be” Prepared. Gather all your medical records and keep them in a file folder, binder or on your computer (back it up onto a thumb drive in case your desktop or laptop goes down). As you go through tests, x-rays, and procedures ask that you receive a written copy of each of these findings and keep them in your file. You will not only save money, but you’ll have your records handy for emergency situations and help speed up delivery of healthcare.
- “Be” Proactive. Don’t expect a ‘quick fix”. Some medical issues will take time to solve and resolve. You may be required to have “some skin in the game” such as losing weight, get on an exercise regimen, or stop smoking or drinking. Taking an active part in your medical care can often alleviate the use of medications and lead to a better quality of life.
- “Be” a Scheduler. Keep a calendar for your appointments as well as when you are due for checkups such as yearly examinations, mammograms, bone densities, etc. I literally mark on my calendar when to call and schedule the event I need and I do it when I have just completed that year’s event. For example: My mammograms are now done in July (COVID-19 Pandemic bumped my April time slot by 3 months). Once I completed this year’s study, I made a note 11 months from that date to schedule the next mammogram. I do this for the house checkups like the air conditioning service so why wouldn’t I take care of my body as well as I take care of my home?
- “Be” Your Own Advocate. Do the work entailed so you can make the best decisions possible. If your health limits what you can do to advocate for yourself; enlist the aid of a close friend or family member.
If things are not improving, don’t ignore the issue, but do go back to the physician for a second chance to reassess. If the results remain the same, request a specialist or find another physician. Remember, no one knows your body better than you. Trust your gut.
- “Be” Determined, Patient and Politely Persistent. When you have tests done, always ask when you can expect the results. Don’t accept the verbiage that you will be notified if there is a problem. Busy offices are run by busy people and people aren’t infallible. Mark it on that handy dandy calendar of yours and then if you haven’t heard from your doctor during that time period; call the office for the results and ask them for a copy. While it is important to be polite and patient don’t let these actions prevent you from being persistent and a good advocate.
- “Be” Informed. Read, research, study and ask questions. Always get your information from credible sources and confirm the information with several other sources.
- “Be” Outspoken. Speak up! Whatever concerns you have, voice them. I assure you your doctor has heard and seen it all before. In the medical arena the only ignorant questions are those left unspoken.
- Be Armored in God. Ephesians 6:13 tells us:
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Start and end you day in quiet conversation with God and lift up “popcorn” prayers throughout the day. My friends may be single but neither is alone when they clothe themselves with the armor of God.
While you may not be a stranger to medical mayhem, when you add to it the pandemic you have a cocktail that can make your head spin. These 8 “Be’s” will go a long way to navigating the health industry during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic. Don’t be caught without them.
Be safe, Be healthy, Be sane and be blessed.
Thank you for reading my post. If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it. Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!
I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts. To order a copy or learn more go to my website at www.lorettaschoen.com
Blessings for Health & Wellness.