That is the question I was asked by my manager today – Do you really need the gall bladder surgery? Can’t you just cope with the pain? I was a little taken aback and I said no, I really don’t relish the idea of another painful attack.

This past weekend I was reminded that my pain meds are narcotics and can be habit forming. I know my friend meant well, but really, I do know what I am doing with regards to advocating for my own healthcare.

Years ago, when I was a Little Bean, my third urologist thought it madness that my mother was completely dependent on doctors — accepting their words as gospel, and never complaining if there was any mishandling by nurses. It was Dr Hardy who taught me that it is okay to say “no, I don’t want this surgery; no, I will not agree until you give me all the facts; no, you do not have permission to touch my abdomen (this drives Residents and Interns nuts, but it is my legal right to determine who and who does not have access to my body). And I have the legal right to jump off a table during an ultrasound and say to the technician “you are hurting me”.

I’m very good at advocating for myself. I am very good at knowing when I need medical intervention — and gall bladder surgery is one of those interventions I require. I cannot stomach the idea of another gall bladder attack cos the little stones keep getting embedded in the ducts. I’ve done my research, I know the consequences of the surgery. I’ll admit it would kind of be nice to have an incision that won’t require lots of attention as it would be a fresh cut, not a slicing over an existing incision.

So dear friends, I would ask that you not make suggestions with regards to pain care unless you yourselves have experience with narcotic pain relievers. I know you mean well, but it gets my back up and I feel like I have defend my decisions. It’s bad enough I have to squabble with the medical profession, I really do not want to do that with friends and acquaintenances.