One way we can care for ourselves is by planning an enjoyable activity before we go to our appointment. This can give us something to look forward to and provide some structure for our day.
We can also ask others to check-in or spend time with us after appointments. Many of us struggle to know who to go to for support. Here are some factors we might want to consider:
What kind of support am I hoping to get (e.g. emotional and informational support)?
In what ways might they be able to meet this need?
How comfortable am I with this person?
Can this person hold space for me and my feelings?
How does this person listen to and empathize with me?
Do I trust this person to keep my information confidential?
Do I feel pressured to explain or justify things to this person?
What experiences do we share that might help them understand my perspective?
Are they willing to learn about my values around healthcare?
It can be hard to ask for support. Here are some ways we can ask:
“I have an appointment coming up. Can we go for tea after?”
“Can I meet you at the park on Sunday around 3:00 PM?”
“Thanks for checking in. I have some questions about top surgery and last time you said if I had any questions, I could ask you. Is that still okay?”
“I’m really confused about some things my doctor said and I know you’ve got a lot of experience working in healthcare. Could you help me understand this?”
If we have the capacity to and would like to, we can plan time to unpack and process our experiences. This can look like setting aside time to reflect and talk to others. Some prompts for reflection are provided in the “After” section.