Tulips just because... February 2013.
As seems to be the theme lately for my Thursday posts, a story on NPR this morning got me thinking. And then it got me mad! The story was about the rising health care costs in this country and how there is a campaign called Choosing Wisely that aims to educate both doctors and patients about ways to cut spending without diminishing quality of care. Of course I found this topic interesting as I am an ICU and ER nurse by training but I also found it interesting from a patient perspective, namely as an obstetrics patient.
As I listened to the story this morning, I couldn't help but think about my own experience with my OB/GYN during my pregnancy. I've mentioned before how I didn't have the easiest time conceiving Alice so, once I was finally pregnant, I wanted to do everything possible to keep her in there, happy and healthy. And even though I am a medical professional, when it came to my own body being pregnant for the first time, I felt totally naive and uncertain.
Of course hindsight being what it is, I had a perfectly normal pregnancy. I'd say even textbook except for that whole c-section part. What is now so frustrating to look back on is my lack of voice concerning the way my OB/GYN took care of me. Yes, Alice is here and she is healthy, but I believe my doctor did dozens of additional tests that racked up who-knows-how-much for our insurance company to pay. I mean, she was doing blood test after blood test to check for completely obscure things that happen in less than one percent of the population!! With nothing in my family history to give her any concern!! Did she do it because she is a nervous-nellie? Probably. Or did she do it so that she could bill more and pad her pockets?! Who knows, but I sure hope it isn't the latter.
What is it about our culture that silences us when faced by a doctor concerning our bodies and our health? I've always been an outspoken person (just ask my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Folias) but when I timidly spoke up to my OB/GYN questioning why we were doing this test again she seemed to play into my fears and make the test sound completely and totally necessary. And when the result would come back totally fine but on the low end of the normal range, she'd tell me she wanted to check the levels again to make sure they weren't dropping even though they had always been NORMAL! I did finally get lippy with her near the end as I was so over being pregnant and so over being in her office every week but I always let her run that damn test again.
Because I didn't trust myself to speak up and be an advocate for my own health care.
I know this is a wordy post and I hope someone is still reading it. How have your experiences been with health care? After Alice was born, and as I laid in that hospital for those five long days, I finally had the last word with my OB/GYN... she came in to check on me and, after her exam, she told me that my hematocrit and hemoglobin levels were very low (think anemia) and I looked her square in the eye and said in my most sarcastic tone...
"Hmmmm... that's interesting, Dr. . Could it possibly be from you taking a vial of blood from me every goddamn week for the last 3 months?!"
I'm sure she chalked up my bitchy response to all those post-partum hormones. And, needless to say, I've already found a very different and very laid-back OB/GYN for round two (don't get any ideas just yet!).
Even the stems are pretty...