Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Hate Confrontation

Back in the day, I used to be very confrontational. I had no problem whatsoever telling someone what I thought without regard for their feelings. As my mom said just the other night, a thought would barely form itself in my mind before it was coming out of my mouth.

Um...thanks Mom. ;-)

She was right of course.

Rude cashier? I'd call her on it. Someone treating me unfairly? They'd hear about it. Did you just give me a dirty look? You're goin' down...

Then I grew up and mellowed out.

I still say all the things I want to say, but only in my head.

Nowadays, I avoid confrontation at all costs. Partially because I've softened over the years and partially because I have little people watching and listening to how I treat others so they know how to behave.

There are two types of people that I cannot for the life of me assert myself with: a hairstylist or a doctor.

I had an ongoing medical issue that lasted between six and seven months that my family doctor kept brushing off as being normal, and a part of aging. Each time I went to see him for this problem he treated me like I was an annoyance, and would speak down to me with frustration. Finally I pushed for blood work, an ultrasound and a referral to a specialist.

He pushed back and suggested we take a 'wait and see' approach.

I stated what I wanted yet again.

Finally he agreed to refer me and the whole time he filled out the paperwork he spoke to me like I was overreacting because my issue was no big deal.

Yesterday, almost four months later, I went to see the specialist. Apparently my issue is somewhat of a big deal and not so normal. He's ordered more detailed blood work as well as another ultrasound. He has his opinion as to what my ongoing issue was and it's so sad. While we don't know for certain that his suspicion is correct, a lot of my issue could have been addressed months ago.

I really appreciated how the specialist listened to my questions and answered them. He didn't talk down to me, he wasn't frustrated by me. He didn't rush me. He actually asked me to stop speaking so fast, a habit I have when I see my family doctor because he doesn't give me much of a chance to talk at all.

When it comes to my Ian or my children I don't have a problem speaking up for them. But myself? It was incredibly hard, and I just want to kick myself for taking so long to do it.

When I settle down and have a bit more information (I see the specialist in another 2 weeks) I think I will go back to my family doctor to talk about the specialist's findings and how he (the family doctor) made me feel when I tried to speak up for myself.

Or maybe I won't. Because I hate confrontation.

I feel like I dropped the ball on my own health because of my fears of speaking up.

Can you advocate for yourself? Do you find it easy or hard to do? How long would you wait before you insisted on a referral?



  1. I'm so glad that you pushed your family doctor for the referral etc.
    Honestly, I'd probably still be taking the doc's orders and doing the "wait and see" approach.
    Hugs to you!

  2. Depends on the problem. I went to see my family Dr. every week- at least once a week- for the same problem for approximately 12 weeks during the winter of 09. I finally took matters into my own hands and started looking for an alternative Dr. This Dr. listens to me, gives me credit for knowing my body, and advises me accordingly. His nurse is even more attentive. Things that were brushed aside by the other Dr were taken into consideration by this new one. To top it off, I can email the nurse when I have questions! I love that. My old Dr. is still our family Dr, and handles acute illnesses only. When we saw him (for my son) last August, I let him know where he went wrong with my care. I was afraid to (since he's a sort-of personal friend), but then I realized that there could be a patient like me heading into his office over the next week or so, and my story can help them get a Dx sooner. Go girl! Way to get the referral!

  3. I am so sorry dear! I hope everything works out, and whatever it is you are dealing with gets dealt with.

    I love our primary care physician, but the specialist I have been having to go to for the past month is an idiot. Or at least, IMO. I will not be going back to see him, ever, if I can help it.

    I will be thinking of you!

  4. Oh my dear Kate! I hate that you've had this going on for so long with no help! That's horrible! I've been worried! I wish you knew that standing up for yourself with YOUR health and YOUR doctor is no different than standing up for the kids' health or Ian's because without you, their lives would be horrible! You HAVE to advocate for yourself because no one else will and your family NEEDS you. So even if it makes you uncomfortable, you have to try to take the best care of yourself... FOR them! If you'd rather not be confrontational with your family doctor, perhaps you could write him a letter? I wish I could help! Hang in there and know that I'm praying hard for you!

  5. Oh, my friend! I am so sorry!! What is going on?! You know I'm here for you if you need to chat...

    I don't speak up for myself, either...partly, because I work with the doctors I see, and I feel like my professional relationship complicates the personal relationship.

    I'm sorry...hang in there, I'll keep you in my prayers!

  6. I can relate. I am afraid of confrontation so I have a hard time speaking up for myself. But, like you, I have no problem when it comes to my husband or son.
    I guess we just need to learn that we have to take care of ourselves too.
    I think you should go back and talk to your doctor.
    But, I might be too afraid of the confrontation to do it, too.
    I want to encourage you to do it though.
    I hope your medical issue gets straightened out and treated quickly.

  7. I am so sorry for your experience - I am glad you are finally on the right path with people listening!

    I have to say that I've always been my own best medical advocate. It came with watching my mother have to do that for me as I grew up. And now with a son with life-threatening kidney issues, I learned that I could research all I want, but when it comes down to a medical degree or Mommy's instinct... I have been proven right too many times not to heed it.

    Thankful that you didn't give up... and praying for healing and good news for you!

  8. I'm the same way with doctors and hairstylists. I won't ever stand up to a doctor b/c I'm ridiculous like that- I just get an opinion from another one if I feel as if something is wrong and I'm being brushed off. That is pretty costly, though seeing as how I'm in the military and my insurance usually won't cover a 2nd opinion!
    With stylists, I always tell them I like my hair even if it's hideous...even if they don't do at all what I told them to do. I just can't speak up!
    Kudos to you for putting your foot down for your health! I'll say a prayer for you now in hopes that your medical issues will be resolved soon.
    P.S. Thanks for the review on Choosing To See. I really liked that book!

  9. Confrontation is not my thing at all! Not even a little bit. I have learned however that doctors are human.. I tend to place them on a higher pedastool and think they all know what they are talking about.. wrong. They do not know how you feel and your instinct that something else is wrong. Usually you have to keep pushing in order to get questions answered and problems solved. I hate they did not pay better attention to you and your complaints.. but hopefully you will be able to show him their findings and he will take you a little more serious next time. Praying for you in this situation.. know it is not easy

  10. Oh my!! I hope everything is ok! I'm so glad you're finally seeing a specialist, and YES I definitely think you need to tell your family doc exactly what is going on! He made a mistake and needs to know so it won't happen again!

  11. OH it's hard. I mean, I know what I should say but don't always say it. I know I've said here that you should have told so and so such and such, but I don't always speak up either. And I've never been in your shoes where a referral was needed, but I think if I was having problems with the doctor treating me like that I would either find a new doctor (remember the second opinion rule) or ask my husband to come with me. He's pretty good if people are mistreating me. I can't imagine that Ian would be any different :) Maybe even take him along when/if you go see the other doctor and have him act on your behalf. Men usually respect other men and I don't think that doctor would like it if an angry husband were to visit him (I'm not saying you should get revenge, but that doctor needs a shaking).

  12. Praying for you, my sweet sister in Christ! Please keep us updated on your health.

    I am terribly confrontational to doctors when it comes to my girls, but I tend to be a bit of a door mat when my own health is in question. I'm glad you didn't back down on this and insisted on seeing a specialist. I'm proud of you :) Take care of YOU. ((hugs))

  13. This is exactly why I have an issue with men. I don't like them (which is probably very unfair) & they intimidate me - all of my drs. are women. If I have a choice. And most of the time, I do. Sounds like it's time you find a new dr. You deserve way more than that. To him, it's his job. To you, it's your life. I'll be praying for you!!

  14. They do not know how you feel and your instinct that something else is wrong. Usually you have to keep pushing in order to get questions answered and problems solved.

  15. I always had a hard time with Drs too. After Owain was born, I found that the only way to really get the answers I need is to ask a million questions and never give up.

    I am glad that you pushed it and got to a specialist (((you)))

  16. Anonymous7:07 p.m.

    sending you hugs Katie :)