The Not so Patient Advocate
Ellen Menard
Publisher: Bardolf & Company
Binding: Paperback & Kindle
ISBN: 978-0-9778199-6-6
List Price: $19.95


Review by Janet K. Brennan

Author, Ellen Menard has written a book that belongs in everyone’s library, on the top shelf where it is easy to reach.

This hand’s on approach to common sense management of health care and health care providers is beyond a doubt, one of the best books I have read on this subject in many years. It is uniquely divided into sections within each chapter: Title; Powerup;Workup; Action Steps; Checkup; and finally a page for note taking.

Because I am not in the health care profession, I must review this book as a layman and citizen of the United States of America who has the same frustrating problems with the health care system as everyone else does. My regrets are that I did not have this book when my oldest daughter passed away from Asthma or more recently with the diagnoses of Leukemia for my granddaughter.. In my own case, the several years of suffering from post traumatic stress that went mis-diagnosed until physical symptoms were unbearable and hospitalization the result. If this book had been on the top shelf of my library, things may have gone far differently and I would have gone to bed with fewer fears, headaches and tears.

The Not So Patient Advocate stretches from dealing with ones’ emotions when given a frightening diagnosis to the problems involved in not having health insurance. In between, she addresses a myriad of subjects including, Breast Cancer, Family Practitioners, and Specialists. Ellen Menard emphasizes the importance of learning how to bond and trust your health care provider, getting a second or third opinion and to never feel intimidated by either your diagnosis or your doctor.

My favorite chapter was “At the Diagnostic/Imaging Center, pg.45 in NSPA

We all have tests done in our lives and they can be very frightening if we do not understand what is going to happen. Many times, the tests are worse than the diagnosis or treatment. In this chapter Menard makes the following suggestions: to the patient about to have a test.

“I prefer to be called -------How should I address you?”

I know you will be very busy but I have a few questions. When would be the right time to ask them?

Can I have my husband, wife, partner, adult child, close friend, etc with me?”

“What education and training is required for you to do what you do?”

“What made you decide to be a lab or mammography technician?

How long have you worked here? Do you like it? Why did you choose this place? How long do you expect to be here? What do you like best/least about working here?”

“What is the most difficult part about your work? What would you change about your chosen career/profession if you could?”

In Ellen Menard’s book, her valuable words change the complexities of having to deal with a medical situation that seems larger than life. She is clear, concise and comforting.

It is obvious that this brilliant woman and writer has much to say and has the medical experience to back up her words of wisdom.

This is a must read for young adults all the way up the ladder to old age!

I highly recommend this book to everyone.

-- Janet K. Brennan