Telling doctors “I googled it” doesn’t scare me anymore, neither does the steam that shoots from their ears when I say it.
My children are my number one priority, you better believe I prepare, especially when the plans involve surgery, medication or therapy. So what happens when my opinion differs from the doctor’s? What happens when I want additional tests runs, therapies tried or plans made before we load the kids up with medication? I speak up.
I’ve been parenting medically fragile kiddos for 12 years now. At this point my backbone is rather well established – it’s sort of a joke among the nurses in the Intensive Care Unit – don’t mess with mama. If you’re reading this, wanting to speak up, but not knowing the “appropriate” way to do it, I get it. My backbone grew its strength over time, you’ll get there mama friend.
I was recently reminded of the strength of my backbone when my son was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for over a week. Despite multiple surgeries, his airway was not healing at its usual rate. The doctor insisted that he was able to observe all of the problematic areas during surgery, yet Noah was not recovering.
This is when the little voice in my head said, “stand up to him, mama.”
Don’t get me wrong, this doctor is brilliant. He is probably one of the most respected men in his field…internationally! I fully trust that he cares for Noah’s well-being and will do what is best for him, but I’m his mama and something wasn’t making sense to me.
When I disagree with a doctor I follow the same plan every time:
- Ask questions to make sure I fully understand all the details of the issue
- Research the medical terms I don’t fully understand, including surgery/anatomy names
- Visualize the problem/anatomy and brainstorm solutions
- Review my solutions (calmly) with the medical professionals involved
If after all of that I’m still in disagreement with the doctors, I stand my ground.
In this case it was asking for an additional test that the doctors did not find necessary, but I believed would be valuable. I knew the medical team didn’t really want to do the test, they didn’t want to put Noah through any additional pain, but I fully believed that it would help us solve the airway problem we were dealing with.
It took me speaking up, insisting on the test, going into the Operating Room and insisting AGAIN that the test be performed that it was completed. That’s what I call advocating!
And guess what…the information learned during the test was exactly what was needed. The doctor was able to see an additional problem area, unseen during the past surgeries. The area was worked on and Noah’s healing began.
Sometimes you need to trust your gut, friends.
You also need to trust that running around the hospital with your arms in the air, Rocky-style, cheering for yourself, might be a tad rude.
Anyway, that’s what social media is for 😉