Due to circumstances beyond anyone's control I have been thrust into medical settings more than I would have liked the past 6 years. First with Matthew and then with my dad. I have learned alot from observation. I chose to view the negative situations in a positive way.
In October of 2011 my dad underwent a heart cath and the following week was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He also suffers from severe restrictive lung disease due to his work environment for 30+ years and his exposure to asbestos and other chemicals that have literally fried his lungs. We honestly did not think my dad was going to be able to pull through that cold November night we called 911. During the course of his hospitalization other health disparities presented that I needed to educate myself on. Daddy was also diagnosed with stage 4 kidney disease and at the time was in active renal failure.
I am a "need to know" kind of girl. The more educated I am on a situation the better I feel. His doctors and nurses were always extremely kind in answering questions we had. Just as I had with Matthew, I kept a little black book for daddy as well in the hospital. There were so many organ systems being affected it was hard to keep up with. I have learned that you must be there to advocate for a loved one when it comes to their healing. There has to be someone to ask questions. There has to be someone to double check. Health care employees are human just like you and me. Mistakes do happen. But I know personally that many have been prevented because of the advocacy I invoke and that of my family members.
Since most of this was uncharted territory for me with new conditions I would do everything I could to educate myself along with the help from his doctors. I feel it is vitally important to know the appropriate medical terms pertaining to a certain condition if you are coming from outside of professional health care. If we took him to the ER and tell the docs, "Well, he is just old and sick and can't breath good." How long do you think it will take them to go through records, and examinations to determine his background and assess his condition?
As we would learn about one condition we could relay this information to his next specialist. All of the organ systems work together and therefore there must be cohesiveness with his doctors to appropriately treat him without causing harm to another area.
I want to be able to do anything and everything I can to help in the care and healing. This means being educated and being a partner for the provider. In dealing with so many doctors and nurses we have lost count I am thankful to say that every single one of them has been grateful to have educated partner advocates to help in the care of their patient.