When I had the hullabaloo getting my drugs the other day at the chemo unit I reflected on how far I have come in advocating for myself. I think I was never a shrinking violet, but now I now have no compunction about asking for exactly what I need and when I need it. Maybe there’s something about being over 40 that gives me the chutzpah to state my case clearly and firmly.
Do I need an appointment time that can accommodate my schedule? I ask for it. Am I unhappy because I was assigned a yob of a doctor? I firmly ask not to see them again. This happened when we went down to the Mayo Clinic for a consultation. We were sloughed off onto a “fellow” (one of the higher level stages of training) who was your typical arrogant doctor. After a morning with him, I made a clear and firm request that we would not be seeing him again and would only talk to the doctor we had come to see. Voilà. Problem solved.
Are my drugs not ready? I will go personally to the source to let them know that I have driven in 3 HOURS to get to my chemo appointment and would they please just give me my drugs. Don’t mess with me.
While this kind of self-advocacy has been good for me, I’m not sure how the staff at various institutions feel about me. Perhaps they think “Oh no, here she comes. You take her.” “No you take her, I dealt with her last time”. I do always try to be polite – just firm.