The Patient’s Playbook: A Review

The Patient's PlaybookLeslie D. Michelson’s book, The Patient’s Playbook, is something that should be read by anyone who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, Fibromyalgia, Cancer, Lupus or any chronic illness. When I first came across this book, I was skeptical, as I usually am about any kind of self-help medical book. What sets this book apart is that it actually provides a wealth of information on how to talk to your physician and choosing medical professionals who are the right fit for you.

I have put a number of the principles contained in this book to use with my own VA health care team. It’s led to me getting additional tests and generally communicating better with my care providers as we work to treat some of the conditions which I have along with Fibromyalgia.

Again, if you have any kind of chronic illness or know someone who does, The Patient’s Playbook is something that you must read. It can quite literally save your life or the life of someone you love. I know how this sounds, but if you read it, you’ll understand. The following are a few of the most important points from the book that I’d like to be able to share with all of you reading this and for that matter, everyone.

The key takeaway in The Patient’s Playbook is the importance of communication. As a patient, you can’t be afraid to advocate for yourself, do your own research, ask as many questions as you need and of course, be completely honest with your physician and other members of your medical team. If they don’t know what’s going on with you, they’re not going to be as well prepared to give you the care you need.

Educate yourself on your family’s medical history and if possible, get copies of family medical records. Many diseases are hereditary but aren’t normally tracked – this could make all the difference in diagnosing a hereditary condition.

Just because you’re a patient doesn’t mean that you lose your agency as a human being. You can ask for a second opinion and shop around for a medical team which you feel can give you the best possible care. Physicians are no more infallible than anyone else and like you, they can make mistakes. If you’re at all in doubt, ask questions and if necessary, get another opinion.

Besides what I’ve already mentioned, why is The Patient’s Playbook so essential? It’s simple:

  • Reading this book will explain to you why having the right medical team can change – or save – your life!
  • It tells you the three things you need to know to make yourself and your family prepared to face illness when and if it happens
  • You’ll learn the ten most important, but usually unasked questions you should ask after being hospitalized.
  • How to avoid the mistakes many patients make in the first 24 hours after experiencing a medical emergency.
  • How to avoid having unnecessary, costly and potentially dangerous procedures or treatments.

Healthcare is something that most of us don’t know a lot about and we tend to just accept what we’re told –it’s time to start thinking of ourselves as consumers when it comes to our medical care.

We have a right to seek alternate opinions, choose our medical team and to ask as many questions as we need to. We have a right to educate ourselves and to say no to unnecessary treatment – over-treatment can be just as dangerous as under-treatment in many cases. Above all, we have a right to work with medical professionals who genuinely listen to our concerns! The Patient’s Playbook is filled with practical, useful advice that make it a must-have, even if you don’t suffer from a chronic illness.

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