HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT

I am reading way too often on mesh injured social media 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 – this is 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 – it can be exhausting and trigger us deeply – we need to be mindful and take care of ourselves.

TAKE SOMEONE WITH YOU TO YOUR APPOINTMENT

I am loathed 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/medicine 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 and when there is so little research into why mesh has caused so many complications in so many of us. 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 in a heap of tears, or get triggered by questions. You may ask permission to record the session on your mobile phone or a recording device so you can document the session and don’t miss anything.

TAKE SOME FORM OF EVIDENCE OF INJURY CAUSED BY MESH

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 (available on the “get your health records” page)– print this off, if it is useful and circle or highlight your symptoms.

GET YOUR SURGICAL RECORDS TO KNOW WHICH MESH YOU HAVE

You are entitled to them by law (Freedom of Information act). You need the surgical notes from the hospital where you had your operation (operation record) and on them will be the type of Mesh you have – you need the sticker which has the barcode 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.

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!

BE PREPARED

Know what you want to ask you Doctor, have it written down so you don’t forget any questions and leave their office 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 feel I am not getting anywhere in the consult or I am confused as to what to do next:-

  • “So Dr. ……. If you were me or 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…

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 ?.