Be your own health advocate!

Living on Oxygen for Life

We all hope that we don’t have to be hospitalized but sometimes it’s necessary. The best thing to do when becoming hospitalized is be prepared. Know that you are your own best advocate for your care. What that means is:

  • Listen carefully to what the doctor is telling you about your condition.
  • Ask LOTS of questions (especially if you are not sure what the doctor is talking about).
  • Make copies of documents of: Test results. Medications taken in the hospital. Plans of care in the hospital. Hospital release orders.
  • Know that there are only so many nurses who have a lot of patients to care for but please let them know if you need help. It’s important that you are getting quality care. If you don’t feel that you are, discuss your concerns immediately with your doctor.

If you can’t be your own advocate, ask someone that you trust and who knows your health problems. When you are admitted to the hospital or about to receive treatment or a doctor prescribed procedure, the hospital should ask you to fill out a form to add any names who YOU authorize to receive access to your condition. That means, if those people you add to the list call to the hospital or come to your hospital room inquiring about your condition, the staff can give those people your status. There are other benefits to listing these trusted family or friends to this list. If you are too tired or too ill to talk with the doctor, these people that you’ve listed can talk with the doctor or nurses. However, the patient is the only one who can request pain medicine or a sleeping pill (if it is on the patient’s chart ordered by the attending physician).

Many of the things listed above also pertain to even doctor appointment visits. Write notes, list the questions that you and/or family have. It’s so important that you take charge of your health. Living on oxygen can be scary but it doesn’t have to be if you are informed and in charge of your health. If you are a person (like me!) who doesn’t remember everything the doctor says, take someone with you. I take my  husband. For one thing, his memory is like an elephant’s and another thing, I need him to wheel me around in a wheelchair for the longer doctor appointments. I’ve finally admitted to myself that I need the wheelchair and you know what??? I last SOOOO much longer for using it. We’re able to get out after the doctor appointment and do some fun things. We go for lunch as a reward! I’m big about the Reward System. Do something you don’t want to do, like a doctor appointment or a Heart Catherization (yuck!) and get rewarded with some activity that’s fun or even treat myself to ice cream! YUM!

I know life can be difficult and adding some rewards to my life for doing some of the difficult things that I normally do NOT want to do, makes everything a little bit brighter. Don’t you think?? Who else uses the Reward System?? Let me know what you do???

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