I’ve been struggling with how to start this post and how I was going to explain what exactly I mean by this statement. I never thought much about my search for a doctor, mainly because I was rarely sick and just went to whoever: urgent care, a recommendation from a friend. Until I got pregnant, and saw how important it is to have the right doctor. I saw firsthand how incredibly important it is to have someone you trust, someone who is on the same page as you in terms of what you will and won’t do, someone you are entrusting your life with to have your best interest at heart. That’s hard to do. Doctors see so many patients and deal with so much. They can be amazing. Or they can be the worst. How can you be sure they actually care about you? This isn’t important only for expecting mothers but for anyone who may be feeling out of sorts or might need a basic check-up.
Healthcare is something we know is important but that we all take for granted until it’s absolutely necessary. We as a society don’t focus on health enough. My mom used to tell me that without your health, what do you have? And she’s right. How can you work and enjoy the things you work for, enjoy your family, your friends without being healthy and feeling your best? You can’t. And I mean overall health too. Your mental as well as the physical. I could write for hours debating the benefit of each but I just wanted to give my opinion using my past pregnancy.
I’ve written before about my troubles with pre-eclampsia before. I was fortunate enough to have gotten it late in my pregnancy so I only had to deliver about 9 days earlier than my due date. What I didn’t realize was how I didn’t know anything about pre-eclampsia other than what you find on google. I was always pretty healthy and had low to normal blood pressure so I wasn’t a high risk pregnancy and no one thought anything of it. I also didn’t factor in that my doctor would send me to be admitted and then go on vacation with her family and not deliver my baby. Or that they would discharge me only to have me go back in days later because my baby developed jaundice. Or that I would get pneumonia and still be severely swollen a week after delivering. None of these factors could have been predicted. What I did have a choice in was how it was handled and who my doctor was. I went through a couple of doctors after that, trying to find one that I felt comfortable with and finally settling on the actual doctor who delivered my baby. I tried to complain about how I was treated but it fell on deaf ears and I didn’t try hard enough. I was too exhausted with having a new baby and feeling so bad, I gave up on pursuing the lack of care I received. It was traumatic to say the least, but the one good thing that resulted from this medical disaster (other than my healthy baby) was I found a renewed sense of power. Over my body, over my life. I was a mom now. And I was responsible for someone other than myself. I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me or force me to do something I wasn’t comfortable with from now on. Not my husband, not a family member, no one.
Not everyone has that luxury or is that lucky. And I’m thankful for every lesson I’ve learned and continue to learn. I’ve met and talked to so many young women who had similar or worse experiences than me and it’s unsettling. We have to demand more from our community, our doctors, from our government when it comes to healthcare because as a society if one is sick then we all are. We’re all here living on this planet together.
And we deserve better when it comes to how we view our health and others. So please, do your research and take your health seriously no matter what.