Patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

Heather Thiessen is a self-described “ICU frequent flyer” and a patient advocate. She has been in and out of the Canadian health system for the past 15 years receiving care for two chronic conditions: Multiple Sclerosis and Myasthenia Gravis. Heather contributes to Health Quality Council’s QReview blog, where this post originally appeared. You can follow her on twitter @Pina44.

Ask Questions Before Surgery. You May Save Your Own Life.

Heather Thiessen | June 9, 2014
I am wheeled into the operating room and walked to the bed. As I get to the table I am so cold and nervous, I begin to shake. I lay down on the operating table, thinking it seems very narrow and hoping I don't fall off. I hear one of the nurses say, "We have the Heparin ready for the new port." I freeze. I lift my head and say, "I'm allergic to Heparin." The anesthesia I've been given kicks in at that point and I drift off to sleep, hoping things go all right...

I’m Through Feeling Guilty for My Health Problems

Heather Thiessen | June 17, 2013
Have you ever felt like you needed to apologize for a health problem you were facing? I have experienced this often over my many years in the healthcare system.

Getting Over My Fear of Doctors

Heather Thiessen | July 31, 2012
Growing up, I was always in awe of my doctors. It was almost as if they lived on a cloud. You never ever questioned their expertise, and very rarely would you ask for a second opinion. Going to the doctor was a nerve-wracking experience, where you spoke only when they asked questions. I always wondered what would happen if I did question them. But I never did. I was too afraid.