Lately, like many women my age, I’ve been dealing with my in-laws’ heath issues as well as a few of my own. Navigating an illness is never easy, but if you’re a woman of a certain age, the way you were socialized and taught to converse with physicians could be the biggest obstacle to receiving great care.
Here’s a video I created for company that was trying to encourage women to seek second options before agreeing to surgery. See if it rings true for you, your mom or friends.
Now, getting a second opinion before a surgery sounds like a no-brainer, I know, but for women of my mother-in-laws’ generation (and even my own) a doctor’s advice is often taken as gospel. And to question it, no matter how politely, is tantamount to heresy. Pshaw, y’all.
It turns out that a second opinion can change the diagnosis or the treatment 30% of the time, yet almost half of all Americans don’t get second opinions according to a 2005 Gallup poll.
If you’re ever feeling a bit hesitant about questioning a doctor’s advice, remember that when it comes to your health, you shouldn’t worry about hurting your doctor’s feelings. The first person you have to be good to is YOU. This means taking the time to see another physician in person and taking your test results or any other information with you. And, no, checking around online doesn’t count as a second opinion.
As Chief Wellness Officer of the household, women tend to take care of everyone in the family first and treat their own health issues “when there’s time.” That’s a topic for another post, for now just remember what your pilot always says prior to take off: “Always put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others.”