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Setting Expectations for Your Healthcare

Back when I was diagnosed, I had a horrible, disrespectful doctor. He truly made me feel like I had the plague. He barely touched me during an exam and would make a point to wash his hands several times during the visit. Don’t get me wrong, that is good, but after listening to my heart and probing around my liver area (feeling for swelling, etc.), he would wash. I would try to ask questions and he would essentially ignore and just go off on another topic. Often, he’d just say, “I’ll see you in a year”. The whole atmosphere made me feel dirty. I felt badly, leaving that place. I felt like I was a walking disease bomb, waiting to go off and destroy.

Finding the right healthcare team

It was not till I found my new liver specialist in Denver that I actually began to feel ok about my hep C. The nurses and staff were loving and caring, they interacted with me, shaking my hand and reaching out to touch my shoulder. I left my first visit at that facility in tears- Not from being sad, but for the first time, I felt like an actual human being with feelings, and that I mattered. This doctor took the time to listen to me.  He answered my questions and then even suggested readings for me to learn more about hep C. He did not appear nervous to be in the same room with me. He interacted normally, like I was there for a common cold.

Do you need a new doctor?

If you are facing a situation with a doctor or healthcare team where you leave feeling like you don’t matter or you are plagued, GET A NEW TEAM. You have the right to fire that team and find another. Don’t feel you are stuck dealing with that. Sure, you may not have many options for your healthcare team, but do some research and look into trying to find a better fit for you. Not every doctor you meet has good “bedside manner”, as they call it. So, do not feel like you have to settle. Look at other towns close by; Sure, you may have to drive a little bit. I have to drive over 45 mins to get to my team now, but in the long run, it is better because I became better. I became more confident in my liver health and I knew my doctor had my back and was not going to let anything happen to me. I left his office ready to fight this disease head on.

Set your standards before you even start this journey. What will you accept from your liver team and what can you improve on? Once your team is in place, you will feel better about the overall journey.

You matter and you need a team of doctors and nurses that make you feel that you matter too.  This journey will be a joint effort. Your liver doctor instructing and you carrying out the mission.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.