When medical intervention is necessary to heal an illness, responsible action is required from not only the doctor, but also the patient.
Most people experience apprehension when they hear the doctor prescribing medical treatment to combat their illness–especially if the illness is life-threatening. they often feel helpless and are unprepared to do more than adopt their doctor’s recommendations.
I advise people to investigate beyond their physician’s diagnosis and prescription. They should take additional steps to understand the nature of their condition, as well as all of the treatment options available. It is best if a treatment decision can be postponed until it can be based on reliable, relevant information.
In addition, the following steps should be take during a health crisis:
- Get support for yourself. Ask family, friends, and loved ones who are ready to accept your belief systems to help you in the way you ask for help.
- Explore every treatment option. You can take more control of your medical challenge if you understand all of your options. Know the disease affecting you and all the options of treatment that can cure, delay, or stop your illness. This can be a great deal of work, but your health is well worth the effort.
- Understand the treatment. Request information regarding any drugs and therapies you are taking. Better still, research them yourself. Libraries and book stores stock The Physician’s Desk Reference which described the effects and side effects of various available drugs. (Hire a medical research service to provide you with success rates and side effects of treatments.)
- Be a “feisty partner.” Let your doctor know you are responsible for you and your illness. Assure him/her that you will actively work with the doctor towards a cure. Passive patients usually become victims of not only their disease, but of the treatment as well.
- Take responsibility for the outcome. Remember treatments merely support your body to heal itself. Being responsible for yourself and the plan of treatment you choose to follow allows not only a greater opportunity for a healing, but also for the peace of mind from which true healing flows.
- Please remember that I am a human being. Treat me with compassion as a human being with a disease–not as a disease attached to a human. Speak from your heart.
- Be positively honest and honestly positive. Always tell me the truth about my illness and be empathetic and compassionate in your conversation about my illness. As long as I am alive, I have a fighting chance. Don’t lessen that chance by telling me the death probability. Tell me the life probability!
- Use language that I can understand. Take time to clearly explain in my terms what you know about my disease and your opinion of treatment.
- Help me by insisting that I be responsible! Don’t let me become a victim of my disease or of your treatment. Victims blame others (like you!) when things don’t go the way they want. By clearly explaining my illness, my treatment options and your recommendations, you are allowing me full disclosure, and more importantly, freedom of choice, in my healthcare decisions.
- Speak to my family as you would your own.