Helping women with chronic illnesses

Foxy Friday

Meet Foxy. Foxy lives in my yard and the surrounding farmland. Pretty cool, huh?


My husband snagged this shot of Foxy the very same day he took the skunk pictures from an earlier post. Our yard has been a regular Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom lately. (I know some of you are too young to know what I’m talking about. It was a nature show that aired when I was growing up).

Today’s post is 10 tips for being clever as a fox when interacting with healthcare professionals. The tips are general and may apply to a number of conditions. Some are more specific than others but most are pretty universal.

Top 10 list for being a clever fox in the healthcare world:

1- Get educated about your condition(s) in order to be a strong partner with your doctor(s). Ask questions when you don’t understand!

2- Bend over backwards to network with fellow patients who “get it”. This is a very important step that will reap rewards you never dreamed imaginable. This is huge.

3- Make treatment decisions carefully. Whether it is a decision involving prescriptions, surgery, acupuncture, physical therapy, alternative medicine, etc… take it seriously. You only get one body!

4- Just as you would shop around for a car to purchase, you may need to invest time “shopping” for the right doctor for you. Spend at least as much time and energy taking care of your body as you would your car.

5- Never, ever be afraid to seek a second opinion (or more).

6- Consider taking notes during appointments, taking a loved one with you to help you absorb everything, or even tape recording the office visit (with your doctor’s permission). This can be invaluable.

7- For surgeries, I highly recommend getting a copy of your operative report for your own records at your post-op appointment. You have a legal right to your own medical records. This should be as simple as signing a release form. Some states allow providers to charge for copies. New York State has a cap of 75 cents/page. Most operative reports aren’t that many pages as they are dictated and typed.

8- If you are fortunate enough to have a local (in-person) support group, take advantage of it! This is an incredible resource you don’t want to overlook.

9- Establish a strong partnership with your doctor. Working as a team to manage symptoms is far more effective than working against each other. If you have trouble working with a doctor, maybe it’s time to seek another opinion. There may be a better fit for you out there.

10- If, despite all efforts on your part to listen and take notes, you are haunted with an important question right after an appointment, don’t be afraid to call the office and explain that you know the doctor is very busy but would greatly appreciate if you could either speak to a nurse or leave a message for the doctor regarding your question. Whether they respond as quickly as you’d like, you will have done everything in your power to get your message across. At least you’ll have the peace of mind to know you tried your best.


You are your own best advocate with healthcare (assuming you don’t have a health care proxy making decisions on your behalf). So it’s important for you to speak up for yourself.

Be clever as a fox and make the most out of your doctor’s appointments. Go prepared (list of meds, list of recent symptoms/changes, list of questions)…

These are just a few tips that may help you feel more comfortable and in control in healthcare situations.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

New to blog commenting? Just click “comments” below post. (If you set up a Gravatar, your picture will show when you comment).

Reading: Foxy Friday


1 JasmineNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 2:11 am }

Fantastic advice Jeanne! Love the fox pic (I used to watch Wild Kingdom too).
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..The Vestibular System =-.

2 YayaNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 5:30 am }

Love the orange fox!

These are all great tips Jeanne. Yes “shopping” for the right dr is imperative. I spent years with a dr that never listened to me.

Thanks for the valuable information!
.-= Yaya´s last blog ..Vlogemotions =-.

3 KerryNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 8:55 am }

Jeanne, great tips. This is my first visit to your new “chronic healing” blog. It’s wonderful.

4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 9:27 am }


Thanks! Isn’t that fox great? My husband is good at catching these shots of wild animals that I would never get. I can’t believe how close he got. (Oh, so you know what I mean by Wild Kingdom? Good)! 🙂


5 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 9:35 am }


Isn’t that fox awesome? I ran out there to see it while he was taking the pictures and couldn’t believe how close we got. Pretty cool!

Thanks. Yes. “Doctor shopping” used to be used as a derogatory term against patients who were “doctor hopping” without good reason. The fact is that doctor shopping is not only necessary in some cases but downright advisable. Endometriosis is a classic example. The average endo patient goes 9.9 years from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and that generally takes 4-5 years. This should NOT be the case. The reality is that this is the average for this one condition alone. So I believe patients need to do what is necessary to obtain the best care they can find… even if that means expending some extra time and effort. It’s worth it in the long run to find a doctor who is a good match, who listens, and who is highly skilled.

Thank you!


6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 9:39 am }

Hi Kerry,

Thanks. I’m glad you stopped by! I appreciate the feedback. I hope you are well!!! 🙂


7 endochickNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 10:51 am }

Also to note – remember you have the right to obtain copies of all your records and x-rays and surgical reports. I am having a problem with a local dentist who is refusing to release my dental x-rays so I can go to another dentist. They said it will take 2 weeks for them to write up a sheet of what I need done, but they will not release my x-rays. Your films are your property. You and your insurance company paid for them. You have the right to obtain them after signing a release that you did so. Know your rights!
.-= endochick´s last blog ..I was numb ALL OVER! =-.

8 Melissa RalstonNo Gravatar { 07.10.09 at 5:03 pm }

J –

You hit the nail on the head on this one. We are the only people who can take charge of our health. It is up to us to report everything to the doctor and if we are not comfortable with the doctor’s response, to find someone with whom we are comfortable.

In my opinion it is a good idea to take someone who is familiar with your situation with you to the appointment if at all possible. I really wish that B could go with me to some of my hospital and obs appointments, but one of us must work for a living! It can help to have someone back up what you are saying. For example, with my recent fainting spells, it can be helpful to have someone say “Yes I’m concerned with the amount that she has been fainting”.

As for working as a team with your health care providers, this is essential. No where moreso than in the US, are patients actually consumers of the medical system. You pay your doctors to listen to you, respect your decisions and what not. And due to this unique relationship you should feel that you are getting quality service and can work together. If not, it might be time to try to find alternative providers.

Up here in Canada, I typically will do the research on different specialists that I would want to see, when my doctor recommends that I see a certain type of specialist. Yes, this can be a lot of work, but it can save time, money, and exasperation at yet another awful doctor’s appointment. I have found my own GI specialist, my own endo specialist, my own urologist… the list goes on. I just believe that if you’re going to go to a specialist, you might as well try to find the right one for you the first time around.

It’s a beautiful fox that you have put up to remind us that we need to participate in our healthcare. Thanks for the tips J!

Take care,
.-= Melissa Ralston´s last blog ..On the Topic of Strength, Courage and Super-Heroes =-.

9 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.11.09 at 1:34 pm }


Ditto to everything you said. It is imperative for patients to know and exercise their rights!


10 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.11.09 at 1:49 pm }


I totally agree with what you said in paragraph one. I also strongly agree with your second paragraph. It is amazing how much difference it can make to bring a loved one along to an appointment to “vouch for us”. As ridiculous as it may seem and as insulting as it may feel that we are taken more seriously if someone else backs up what we’re saying, it is sadly true that this often does make a difference. (Wouldn’t it be nice if doctors believed patients without patients needing to bring in reinforcements?) None of us wants to have to drag a loved one out of work for a Dr appt. The reality is that in some situations it really does help to have that loved one present at the appointment.

Yes, it’s crucial for patients and health care providers to work in partnership towards the same goal.

In the U.S., I do the same thing you do… find my own specialists. I have learned that automatically defaulting to the specialist one of my doctors happens to name can result in frustration, wasted time/money, and the need to turn around and search for a replacement for that specialist. So I quite agree that it’s easier to get it right the first time if/when at all possible.

Yes, I love that fox. Where I grew up in a suburban area, I’d never see a fox in my yard. It’s cool to see things like that around here.

Thank you, Melissa!


11 Twitted by Mark_Sheldon { 07.13.09 at 2:23 pm }

[…] This post was Twitted by Mark_Sheldon […]

12 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 07.13.09 at 10:00 pm }

Hey, where was I in all this foxy excitement?

And your loggish house is too cool. Fun country living, eh. Do you get coyotes too?
.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Why we usually eat at home =-.

13 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.13.09 at 10:57 pm }


You were probably out at some foxy venue singing some foxy songs, I’ll bet…

I figured you’d appreciate a log house… considering your love of WOOD. (Jannie, who ever dreamed you and I could keep this wood joke alive for this many months)? 🙂

As far as your “eh”, I think your Canadian dialect is popping its head out right now, you Texas Tiger.

No, I have yet to see a coyote.


14 Twitted by jeanneendo { 07.19.09 at 6:12 am }

[…] This post was Twitted by jeanneendo […]

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