My wife and I recently had our first child. It’s hard to believe, but little Oliver James is already 2 months old and quickly turning into a bubbly and happy little boy. It seems like only yesterday that Haley and I were making the familiar trek to our prenatal clinic seeking answers to our ever-growing list of questions. Undoubtedly, we’d leave in a mixed state of bewilderment and wonder, anticipating the day we’d actually get to meet our new baby.
As a healthy and active (relatively) young adult, I’ve been lucky enough to have limited interaction with the health care system. Over the years, relationships I’ve developed with health care providers have generally been cordial and short-lived, which was a-okay with me. It wasn’t until Haley got pregnant that it became important that we develop a long-term, trusting relationship with a provider. We felt it so important to find a provider who would understand and appreciate our birth plan, comfort us in times of stress, and work with us to make informed decisions about our precious baby.
Coming from the health care advocacy world, I almost took this process for granted. With a good working knowledge of the system and comprehensive coverage, we had the luxury of provider shopping—a luxury many Coloradans don’t have. Surely we would find the perfect doctor with ease, right? Ah, the naivety of youth. Haley and I sorted through four providers before finding the right match for us.
Around the same time, we were in search of our provider, I recorded a story through our Colorado HealthStory project of a woman named Sharon who also had a long search for her right match.
Both Sharon’s and my family’s experiences demonstrate how difficult it can be, but how important it is, to have a healthy relationship with your medical provider. To be clear, the providers we didn’t initially mesh with are not bad providers—our personalities just didn’t match up. The important thing in both our cases is that we were proactive, engaged in some self-advocacy, and didn’t stop looking for the right provider until we found them. Everyone has an important role to play in their own care, are you playing your part?