One thing about me that is both a blessing and a curse is that I can be very, very persistent to the point of obnoxiousness. And in the years since I first requested a tubal ligation, I learned how to advocate for myself within the medical system.
Part of my success is just my entirely too intense personality, but here are a few tips and tricks I learned along the way:
—Always go in with a list of talking points and concerns, and take notes on what your doctor says.
—Be polite but firm. If a doctor shoots you down or dismisses your concerns, don’t be afraid to keep bringing them up. A common phrase that works for a lot of people is, “Would you please mark in my chart that you refused to [order a test/refer me to a specialist/investigate my concern further/etc.].”
—Do research ahead of time. Look for information from valid sources (like medical studies or government websites). Don’t be afraid to read anecdotes on Reddit or other forums from people who have similar health issues, but don’t rely exclusively on anecdotes.
—Think of your doctor as your partner on a group project. They might be frustrating to work with, and they don’t know your body as well as you do, but they will have invaluable experience and knowledge that you shouldn’t ignore.
—If all else fails, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or switch doctors/medical practices. You owe no loyalty to someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.