How to make the most of your visit
and… get what YOU need
by Justine Watson ©
I am reading way too often on other Mesh pages, women frightened to demand decent health care for themselves.
We need to be mindful of the stress and anxiety we have suffered at the hands of this medical disaster and take action to be in a better position moving forward.
Instead of being outraged I have decided to share my tips for visits to Doctors, that I learned way back when my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
WHEN YOU MAKE THE APPOINTMENT “KEEP IT SIMPLE”
That day and the one before if you can, rest up, be prepared with your list of questions and your request/s for referral/s etc. Do not decide to host a kid’s birthday party – or a function to go to – or anything to do before and after the appointment, so your mind is fully focused.
TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU TO YOUR GP
I HATE to say it, take a male if you can – their presence often means you may be taken more seriously – OR take a friend who understands mesh OR someone who loves you (in a helpful and supportive way).
It is a daunting task – going to ask for help – when you are as vulnerable, anxious and in pain as we are. We need someone who will support our questions; another brain to absorb their answers, TLC and moral support. A cheerleader who will catch us if we fall. You may ask permission to record the session on your mobile phone or recording device so you can document the session and don’t miss anything.
TAKE SOME FORM OF EVIDENCE OF INJURY CAUSED BY MESH – preferably not media coverage
Just alleviate that from the equation to make your life easier. I have an Ethicon brochure for TVT’s (2015) that states at the back in small print, the “adverse reactions” of mesh implant, they state all of my symptoms – PROOF to support your case.
The TGA have a list of adverse effect of surgical mesh – print this off if it is useful and circle or highlight your symptoms.
Link to mesh complications listed on TGA website
TGA mesh complications directly from their webiste 2018 (printable)
WHILE YOU ARE THERE GET YOUR SURGICAL RECORDS TO KNOW WHICH MESH YOU HAVE IF YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE THEM
You are entitled to them by law. You need the surgical notes from the hospital where you had your operation (operation record)
Click here to see how to obtain your Operation Record
and on them will be the type of Mesh you have – you need the sticker which has the code of the type of Mesh on it (my report is called a M170-Registered Nurse Intraoperative report – From Australia)
Perhaps leave a written request with your Dr. if you feel it may be a struggle to obtain them.
They can look like this one
Also there is this letter written by Dr Kevin Petersen MD, who is a hernia repair surgeon in the USA. Print it off and take it with you. It will assist in validating your issues, written by a “medico”.
3 DEEP BREATH RULE
This is a great exercise – takes 90 seconds and works every time. When I feel anxious I move my body. The tension cannot stay inside me if I am not rigid. Then I take 3 long, slow deep breaths right into my belly – so I can feel it expanding. I naturally feel my shoulders dropping and by the 3rd breath I am back to me (sometimes 2 or 3 rounds are necessary!) TRY IT
you can do it anywhere, any time and its free.
Know what you want to ask you Doctor, have it written down so you don’t forget any questions and leave the surgery kicking yourself. If you are “on the clock” put them in order of priority.
If you are struggling to be heard, understood, let your support person rephrase the question for you.
If the Doctor avoids the question ASK IT AGAIN until you have an answer. If they can’t answer it – they can refer you to your specialist of choice then.
MY TOP TIP is this one –
If I am not getting anywhere in the consult or I am confused as to what to do next:
“So Dr. ……. If I was your wife/mother/daughter
What would you tell me to do in my position?”
Works every time – it humanizes you and makes him/her think about you as a person, a member of a family, with a partner or kids…
It has never let me down.
Last Tip about Dr.’s – the receptionist often runs the show – keep them sweet – ask about their kids if they have a photo on their desk, bring them a muffin – find out how they take their coffee and bring them one. I bring them gifts from my holidays, they NEVER forget me. Worked wonders for me 😉