Living Like You blogger Willeke shares advice on building a positive relationship with your neurologist while living with multiple sclerosis.read more
Like millions of people in the US and the rest of the world, I was glued to the television and internet during Election Night 2016. And as in any political election campaign and no matter how acrimonious the debates, it is often hard choosing one candidate over another. In instances like these, do you pick experience over someone who says all the things you want to hear, or do you decide to not vote at all? Funnily enough, you can apply this line of thinking to your life with MS also. You can pick a more experienced neurologist for example over someone who would get you to sign up to everything from yoga classes to bicycle rides while claiming it will cure you. As always, the choice is yours.
When you enter a primary care center or hospital, you want your medical team to be at the top of their game each time you visit them. Similarly, it is wise to go in prepared, so keep a little note with questions handy should you become distracted during your appointment.
In a democracy, each vote counts, including yours. With that in mind, the most important part of the neurologist/patient relationship is private, honest communication where you can ask questions and bounce ideas around. To get the most out of this kind of relationship, it is important create a fiduciary bond with your medical team as it allows you to speak your mind freely if you disagree.
With that being said, it is also important to always keep the lines of information open as you will inevitably need to call upon his or her experience at some stage in your MS. Add to this shared decision-making, and any outcomes you decide upon will leave you feeling in control. After all, even doctors can have a bad day and forget to tell you things.
Of course, it is not unlikely that you might clash with your doctor occasionally. If you feel that you are not getting the support from the medical team, shop around, be your own best friend and search for alternatives. Side with yourself as you are the only one able to tell others what it feels like living with MS.
You do not have to take everything your neurologist or physician tells you, but remember what they will tell you, will be in your best interest. As long as you understand that a doctor/patient relationship works both ways, you will both benefit.
An informed patient is a good patient, and since you are the owner of your illness, you know its ins and outs, its good and bad bits. Talk with other people with MS if you are unsure if you need a physician, or make someone close to you aware of what is going through your mind. Relying on Dr. Google or Neurologist Bing is unwise, as too much easily available online information is not always right information.
While your physician will be looking to improve patient satisfaction, you want to get the best deal out of your relationship with the members of your medical team. It is about your rights as a patient, a carrier of an illness you cannot shake from your side. You are allowed to stand up for yourself in your life with MS. Your body, your choice.
So, while watching another day of US Election drama, I am glad that at least my relationship with my medical team is more steadfast than ever.