Hello FPC Wellness Warriors,
I was looking for a verse to begin this newsletter regarding taking good care of our health, but I couldn’t settle on one. Our healthcare journeys are so personal and verses speak to us in different ways at different times. This winter, Psalm 23 was read at a staff meeting. Despite hearing this so many times over the years, it spoke to me in a new way and provided me comfort in the weeks leading up to my surgery.
Kerry had been encouraging me to write about my experience, which I am happy to share if anyone has questions, but suffice it to say it was eye-opening!! Being a nurse, I thought I was as prepared as I would encourage others to be and would be able to navigate any challenges, but I was not. I neglected to take into account how much the medical system has changed in recent years and also the fact that I wouldn’t exactly feel well! I hope that what I learned through my experience will be helpful.
My two most important lessons were, the need to thoroughly educate ourselves about what we are facing and the importance of having at least one or two advocates on your side. This has become a necessity in our current healthcare system, which is challenged with fragmented care, more complicated treatments and technology, staffing shortages and increased workload for medical staff.
Our advocates, can be an extra set of ears at a doctor appt, a person who is knowledgeable about our health history and concerns and someone who can ask important questions when we might be unable to. Your advocate should be someone you trust and who is comfortable in this role. Our advocates should be in addition to our living will and healthcare power of attorney, not instead of. It is important to have them listed in your charts with all your doctors so that it is easy for them to get information if needed.
There are also advocates in the hospitals and in the community whose job it is to help you. The patient advocate I used in the hospital was actually suggested by my surgeon. If you would like more information on resources available in the community, please let me know.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to speak up! We can be good stewards of our health and still be considerate of the hard-working medical staff. It is our God given responsibility to care for our body…our “temple of the Holy Spirit”.