Interacting with your Doctor!
Communication is about understanding the emotions and intentions behind the information. This article encompasses the importance of communication between doctors and patients.
Effective communication is more than just exchanging information with others. It can help us build good relationships with people. Our ability to communicate our thoughts clearly and effectively with our doctor can help us play an active role in our health care.
Remember how, in grade school, you raised your hand not only when you knew the answer, but also when you had a question? As adults, why do so many of us choose to remain silent? Remaining quiet when your physician is giving out instructions and pretending to understand difficult medical terms, when you really do not, can create major barriers between doctors and patients. The time with our physician is limited. Making every moment count is crucial
Due to their hectic schedules, doctors are stressed out. Many physicians may be distracted by countless other things related to their work, as they try to listen to their patients. We must remember that doctors are not trained to read our minds. Therefore, it is important to be organized and focused on the issues we want to address.
Always listen to your body
A few months ago, I started experiencing knee pain after exercising. I did not pay attention to it, thinking it was just a reminder from my body telling me that I am getting older, or I may have run too fast. After an injury, you are in denial. That state of mind was keeping me from taking the appropriate action of consulting my family doctor.
I started limping. I thought that, with some rest and ice, I would be able to solve the situation like I had in the past with other minor sports injuries. Nothing was working this time. Deep down, I knew that I would have to face knee surgery. So, there was only one thing left to do: call the doctor.
After a total examination of my knee, my physician knew immediately what I was dealing with: a tear in the medial meniscus. A week later, an MRI confirmed his diagnosis. In a short period of time, the worst was happening. Just about every night, once I curled up in bed, I would hear a loud popping sound in my right knee, followed by a dull ache. The pain kept on getting worse and prevented me from getting a good night sleep.
Childhood and fitness
Ever since I was a child, staying fit has been one of my main priorities in life. Growing up, I enjoyed sports. During the summer, my two younger siblings and I would start our mornings playing soccer on the beach and running. The feeling of exercise is addicting, especially because our bodies produce those feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins.
Throughout my life, working out has helped me display a positive attitude toward life and people.
What I learned twenty years ago
In 1998, I was given general anesthesia for the first time to remove my gallbladder. After the surgery, I was having difficulty waking up. It took several hours for me to regain consciousness. The anesthesiologist said that I may have a condition called pseudocholinesterase deficiency, which is an inter-thread blood plasma enzyme that causes sensitivity to anesthesia. Complications of this condition can be many. There is the possibility of respiratory failure or prolonged paralysis of the respiratory muscles. As my surgery date was getting close, the thought of being fully asleep during surgery was scary. I was adamant about not sleeping during the operation.
Complications related to anesthesia are rare; but as we all know, despite all precautions, there are risks to general anesthesia. For some, including myself, not being in control of our own bodies can cause anxiety.
Meeting with the orthopedic surgeon
The day of my consultation with a sports orthopedic surgeon arrived quickly. Was I nervous? Yes! All I could think about was the surgery. I was also eager to know if he could do a knee arthroscopic without using general anesthesia. I could not believe that I was just moments away from getting the answer to a question that had been on my mind for weeks.
With confidence, the doctor said “yes!” I was relieved. At that moment, even though it was impossible, I felt like jumping and dancing.
Surgery, Physical Therapy, and Family
Thanks to a wonderful surgeon, the knee operation was a success. The anesthesiologist did a super job with the Epidural injection, and I did not suffer from any complications. Only two hours after my surgery, with the help and guidance of a therapist at the hospital, I was bearing weight on my knee. Slowly, I was learning how to use a walker.
The unwavering support of my doctor, my family, and a wonderful, dedicated physical therapist, has helped me through the toughest days of rehabilitation with a smile on my face. My goal is to go back out there and run a 5K by early summer.
For those of you who keep putting off surgery because you are afraid of going to sleep, remember: you do not have to be in pain anymore. There are many alternatives. Just talk to your doctor about your options. I did. Now, my objective is to help others.
Communication is, and will always be, the key to achieving what you want in life.
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