How many times have you had an injury or even just a feeling that something was not right and decided not to go to a health professional? I think that everyone can relate to that situation.
Why do we put it off? We know that we should see someone. We know that the chances are that we will make it worse if we don’t see someone. We know that health professionals exist for a reason. So why don’t we book the appointment?
Why didn’t you book the appointment?
In my experience there are a couple of major factors that make us hesitate to pick up the phone.
• Fear of looking silly or sookie or soft or woosie
• Fear of losing control
• Unsure who to see
• Fear of wasting our time
• Fear of not getting help
In my opinion all health professionals, myself included, are here to serve the client/patient/customer to help them achieve the very best version of themselves.
Let me be clear: health professionals are there to help you achieve what you want. They are not there to make money, they are not there to serve their own agenda, they are not there to try to break records for the amount of people seen in a day. Their job is to help you.
Unfortunately there are too many health professionals who have forgotten the whole point of why their job exists. Even worse is that we let them get away with it.
I hear so many stories and I have experienced it myself, where you finally work up the courage to make the appointment only to have your fears realised. We end up leaving saying ‘well that was a waste of time’. Consequently we don’t get better and then the cycle continues the next time we have a problem.
Some common examples that I have recently experienced and heard from clients and family/friends are:
• Going to the doctor to finally ask for help for the depression that you had been suffering with for months/years. When you sat down, with the doctor not making eye contact and not even facing you, you bravely explained how you cry multiple times a day, how you have anxiety that causes you to run to the toilet before social gatherings, how you are finding it harder and harder to simply get out of bed. The doctor asks the perfunctory questions about work and home life. When you answer the doctor said ‘why are you getting anxious and depressed? There is no reason for you to be feeling like that. You shouldn’t be feeling ‘down’ and you don’t need help.’
• Going to a physiotherapist with an injury that is stopping you from being able to do your work properly. You have a toddler and newborn baby at home and your wife is still in pain from the birth. The physio spends approx. 5 mins with you, during which time they helpfully tell you not to pick up your newborn or your toddler, advises you to do some vague stretches and then leaves you with the receptionist to attach some weird electrical current to you. You then hear the physio doing the rounds with four or five other people and basically telling them the exact same thing as they told you. When you emerge to the reception you receive the bill for $80 and the receipt says for 30 min consult. The physio didn’t even touch you and was only in the room for maximum 5 mins. The receptionist informs you you need to come back 3 times a week for the next 6 weeks. You have no idea why you need to go back, what is actually wrong with you, you don’t even think the physio knows your name let alone what is wrong. You go home and pick up your kids because you don’t trust that you shouldn’t and you have to live.
• You have pain in your finger and it keeps locking down in a bent position. This continues to get worse. When you chat to the GP they brush it off and say nothing can be done. One Sunday morning the pain is so bad that your finger gets completely stuck and you cannot force it to straighten. Frightened and in pain you head up to the Emergency Department at your local hospital. The doctor takes an X-Ray, reports there is no broken bone and with a local anaesthetic forces your finger out straight. The anaesthetic helps with the pain but your whole hand is swollen and your finger is bruised. The doctor tells you that you can go home. You still have no idea why your finger got stuck in the first place, you are still in pain and you do not have a plan or even know who to ask for help anymore.
I wish I could say I exaggerated these stories. Unfortunately I could tell many many more. I’m sure you could too.
It has to stop!
As health consumers we need to start demanding more from those who are supposed to be helping us. Enough is enough. We cannot continue to give health professionals so much power that we are afraid to ask for help or to speak up when we have questions.
It is our body, our pain, our sleep, our family, our work and our lives – not the health professional’s. They can’t feel what we feel and at night when we can’t sleep or can’t pick up our newborn baby they are not thinking about us.
You have to take control of your own health.
If you are not satisfied with the customer service you have received from a health professional, speak up! Hopefully it will make the health professional step up. If not, dump them and move on.
Keep looking until you find a health professional that cares more about you than about their own personal agenda. There are health professionals out there that do! I promise you I know many of them personally and have heard the wonderful stories about health professionals that go above and beyond for their clients/patients/customers. It is a core value of mine in my business and I know that you can get quality health care.
You only have one body. Don’t waste it not performing to the highest level possible because of bad experiences with the so called experts.