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How to Get Your Doctor to Listen

Key strategies to get your doctor to listen to you when you feel ignored. I recommend reading these books (affiliate links).

How to Talk with Your Doctor

How to Talk to Your Doctor: Getting the Answers and Care You Need

A week or so ago I posted about how I’ve Officially Lost My Nice and after a year of playing the medical game “their” way I was going to get a whole lot pushier. So Chuck and I came up with a plan. We would call the doctor’s office every day until we got a response and some action.

How to Get Your Doctor to Listen to You

Day One: Use Keywords

First thing Tuesday morning (the doctor’s office was closed on Monday) I called asking about whether or not the doctor had talked to the pulmonologist and/or got him a referral for an MRI. I used the keywords (given to me by some in the medical field, and they also happen to be true: “feeling urgent” and “getting worse”). I got a call back from the nurse that afternoon who said, “The pulmonologist is out of town for a couple of weeks so the doctor is waiting to hear back from the fill-in pulmonologist…blah, blah, blah” I once again expressed how concerned I was for his health.

Day Two: Have My Husband Call

The only time Chuck has ever called the doctor’s office is when he’s needed an appointment for himself. Being the stay-at-home parent I naturally schedule and transport to all doctor’s visits. The purpose of Chuck’s call was to say, “I understand the doctor wants to talk to the pulmonologist, but since he’s gone, can’t he just refer him to a cardiologist himself? Or request the MRI himself?”.

And to be a bit pushy. Chuck called at 8 am, just as they opened and was told by the nurse, “I think I heard the doctor talking to someone on the phone about Apollo…” Whether or not that’s true is anyone’s guess. But he’s on the radar and we won’t let him slip off.

Day Three: The Nurse Calls ME

I got a call from the nurse saying the doctor had discussed Apollo’s case with a pulmonologist down at Children’s and they put a referral in for the MRI. I was told someone from Children’s would be calling. I thanked the nurse profusely, and let her know how much I appreciated their work. I may feel the need to be pushy, but I also believe in being thankful and maintaining a good rapport. And I am thankful. I wasn’t off the phone for five minutes when it rang again and it was someone from Children’s with an appointment time for Apollo’s MRI!

An MRI on the Schedule

He is scheduled for an MRI on January 18th. We check-in at 11:30 and the MRI starts at 12:30 and is scheduled to last for 90 minutes. This should not only confirm a vascular ring (if that is what he has) but give enough details for a cardiologist to be able to plan a repair.

Apollo has to have a general anesthetic for the MRI…and since it’s not until 12:30 we are going to have one hungry, cranky boy on our hands. But it will all be worth it to finally have some answers.



  1. Robyn

    So pleased for you. This should be very helpful in looking at his cardiac anatomy — not only a possible vascular ring, but other changes that could cause his breathing problems as well. That’s great news.

  2. liz

    That’s great!!! I always tell people to follow up. Those offices are super busy..but if you are the squeeky yet respectful wheel things usually get done…even in the hospital the really obnoxious family will get us to do things that really are unnecessary only to get them off our back. That is not your situation..but if someone wants a med that we would usually wait until the am to order and they ask about it 4 times then it is easier to go against the grain of the policy than to have a family coming to you all shift….

    I am so happy for you. I know you have waited for this MRI forever!

  3. Jessi

    That’s great news. The squeaky wheel and all that! I hope an MRI shines a light on his problem and allows you to get fixed ASAP. Will continue to think of you.

  4. Melissa

    Good job! I love the strategizing and it was a great idea to use Chuck’s voice as well.

    Good luck with the MRI. I hope everything goes smoothly and that you finally get the answers you’ve been waiting for for so long!

    Thanks for the update!

    Melissa :)

  5. Maddi

    I’m happy for you. It is so ha rd to be your own advocate. Or in your case your sons advocate. I know this from experience.

    I am currently schedule to see and Endocrinologist. We are doing this because it is obvious that my family care doctor knows nothing about Thyroid, as he completely read the tests wrong. Which is the second time this has happened since I started my journey to find out what is wrong with me.

    Doctors really are a breed all their own. My new years resolution is to be my own advocate and if that means teaching my doctors about how to read thyroid results and telling them which blood tests they should run then that’s what I’m going to do.

    Good Luck to you and hopefully you will be able to have a new and improved, happy little boy after this!

  6. Serial Mommy

    My 9 year old daughter had an MRI this past year with a general anesthetic. It went smoothly. Her’s was scheduled pretty early in the morning, I think we had to be there at 8 in the morning, which is very early for the crew in this house. I hope that they are able to figure out what is going on with Apollo and lead you in the right direction for treatment.

  7. semiorganizedmom

    I just want you to know that we are praying for you all. Apollo is so very lucky to have you as his mommy! I truly wish that I had been more pushy earlier on so that Brenden wouldn’t have had to suffer so long, but it’s all in Gods timing…right? Give Apollo a hug for me….I’m with you all in thoughts, prayers and spirit. God Bless!! BTW- I want to know as soon as you find out!!! ;)

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Lorri- did you get my email a week or two ago? Do you think we’ll know the results right away, or will we have to wait for someone to ‘read’ the results and then call our doctor? Oh, and I’ll post on Facebook as soon as we know :)

  8. Lorri Dean

    I did! I apologize for being a flake and not writing back. You should find out immediately if it’s something like a vascular ring. We knew immediately. I’m praying!!! <3

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