A Visit to the Doctor

Once, many years ago, I was at the OB/GYN for a routine check-up. The nurse practitioner I saw told me that she wasn’t going to test me for STIs because I “don’t look like the type of girl who needs it.” I was stunned. I had no idea what that meant. But, I was in my 20s and didn’t know I could speak up for myself to a medical professional. I figure that they knew better than I did and it took me a while to learn that I owe it to myself to be my own advocate in medical appointments. No one knows me better than me.

Yesterday, I had my yearly physical. I’m happy to report that my numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, weight) are looking better than they did last year. The first thing I did that made me proud of myself was, I told the nurse my weight. I weighed myself in the morning, at home, where I’m not stressed and haven’t eaten a day’s worth of food. She said she was going to take my weight and I instead told her how much I weighed. She didn’t argue, which relieved me.

I also had looked at my medical history through the online health portal and saw that there were some psychiatric diagnoses in there that I had never been diagnosed with. I am, however, taking meds that are commonly used for those things but I take them to address other issues. Again, I spoke up for myself yesterday and told the doctor that I have never had these diagnoses and requested they be removed from my record. He had no problems at all doing that and did it as I sat right there, looking at the screen.

Contrary to popular belief, I still have trouble speaking up for myself in certain situations but I’m proud that I finally used my voice yesterday and I encourage you to do the same.

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