I wanted to take a couple of minutes to explain why I am so passionate about healthcare advocacy.
My sweet father has had multiple health problems surface over the last few years. It will be three years ago next week that he was diagnosed with a benign meningioma (non-cancer tumor). He had to have a craniotomy (a surgery to cut open the skull and remove the tumor) three days after being diagnosed. He lost consciousness three days after surgery and did not wake up for four weeks. He was also diagnosed with several other medical issues during that hospital stay. Last summer, he was diagnosed with a second brain tumor in the same spot. Yep, it was back and bigger than ever. Thankfully, he sailed through that surgery and is doing well. He lives in an adorable tiny house in my back yard which makes it easier for me to keep my eye on him.
I said all of that to say this…every single day I am so thankful that my dad is right here next to me and I can be present in his day-to-day as well as his healthcare. I am able to go to all of his doctor’s appointments with him. I can provide an accurate medical history when he sees a new doctor. I can go over his medications and any new issues/concerns we may have. Being a RN for over 11 years, I have seen plenty of people that have no idea what their doctor is saying or what they want them to do. They do not understand their medical issues, much less the medications that they are putting into their bodies. It breaks my heart to think of living miles or even states away from my father and not being able to participate in his healthcare.
I am also so very thankful for my nursing knowledge! When we go to the doctor I can assess, understand and interpret what the medical plan is then explain it to my dad in a way that he can understand. He then gets to be involved in the plan for his healthcare. He trusts me to make decisions for his health but he doesn’t always like it. When I’m getting too big for my britches he will tell me that he’s not dead yet. When he does this, I know that he is feeling left out and confused so I can pump the brakes and explain it to him.
So, next time you or someone you know is having trouble being their own advocate, doesn’t understand a medical diagnosis, wishes they had someone in the medical field in their corner or just needs some hand holding (because – let’s face it – we all need that from time to time) I would love to help!!