Thursday, August 9, 2012
Putting the doc on notice
Part 3 of 3 (CONTINUED from earlier 2 posts):
So a week-plus after that initial conversation, bolstered by the intervening email with my doc and an in-person follow-up scheduled for Monday, I felt brave enough to actually reach out for that appointment with Dr. H's recommended gynecologist, Dr. W.
ASIDE: Can I just say how AWESOME it is to be able to send an email appointment request, so I know that my words will be received and recorded before I even step into that office? Love it!
Here's the email I wrote:
...please note that I will be accompanied by my fiance and will need him to be with me in the exam room in order to help me cope with the anxiety this appointment causes.
This appointment is for a follow-up to an abnormal PAP. I have been referred to Dr. W by my Primary, Dr. H. Dr. H has already spoken with Dr. W about my case.
Please put a note in my file that there is to be absolutely no discussion of weight or other general health issues by Dr. W or staff (aka your belief that I need to lose weight, eat less/differently, exercise more/differently; or any other non-gynecological issue). I have a history of eating disorders, anxiety and depression which are easily triggered in a medical setting, causing bouts of relapse.
I will see Dr. W to deal with the gynecological concerns raised by my recent physical, but will be fighting through significant fear and anxiety to do so. My overall health is being satisfactorily addressed by Dr. H, my psychotherapist, and other members of my health team. If Dr. W has any general health concerns, please relay them to Dr. H, who can deliver them in a manner that will not upset my other health progress.
NOTE: Please communicate by email only, NOT phone. I do NOT feel comfortable discussing gynecological issues during business hours, while I am at work.
I just hope that it will be received in the spirit in which it was intended (firmly requesting/insisting on care that will not cause me harm, NOT being some sort of demanding, entitled diva type). I don't actually know if the doc will respect my wishes or not, think I'm cool and self-advocating or high-maintenance and non-compliant. But I've decided it's a WIN just to send the email. How the doc responds is another concern, for another day...
How do you think a doctor would respond if you sent an email ahead of time stating your needs, such as what I wrote? Do you have any other tips and tricks for managing fraught or fat-shaming situations?