Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's a Family Trait

I'm finding out lately that my Oldest Sis is a lot like me.
We go through life, willing to share the minor bumps and bruises we acquire along the path of life, but when we hit a major catastrophe, we tend to clam up and try to get through it alone.

There are health issues going on. And I'm really not allowed to stick my nose in, thanks to the HIPPA Privacy Act that I sign as an employee of a Health Care Facility.

But there are some things that I can share with my readers here that may be of help some day, should they find themselves walking the same road.

1.) The toughest part about having a frightening illness is that you feel like shit when you go to the doctor and because you feel like shit, you don't always hear everything they are telling you that you need to do.

Solution #1
It's always a good idea to bring your spouse along with you so that they can listen as well. That way if you hear half of the conversation and your spouse hears half of the conversation, you can add up all that you heard and should be able to follow the course of treatment that your doctor is recommending.

Solution #2
Not everyone is aware that there is a Verbal Consent Form at your Doctor's Office.
You, the patient, can fill out this form saying that you give permission to any and all doctors involved in your treatment to discuss your health issues with those that you have listed on the consent form. (You can list your spouse, your best friend, your kids, grand kids, siblings... whomever you feel would be able to help you sort out the Medical Terminology to help you understand things better. Without this consent form, your doctor is not even allowed to discuss the common cold with your spouse unless they are in the exam room with you. So this is a very good idea for everyone to consider. This remains in your file. It becomes a part of your chart. Should you change your mind down the road and want to edit, you can fill out a new form to void the original.

#2.) You may not even be aware of this, but your doctor is graded on his plan of treatment for every patient. He makes his recommendations for what he feels will make you healthy again and expects you to follow this plan. You can object and ask your doctor to suggest alternatives, and he can listen and if he feels he can do that, he will. But if he feels the original recommendations are best, he will stand behind those recommendations. If you, as a patient choose not to follow those recommendations, you are basically going against medical orders or recommendations.
When you do this, your doctor reserves the right to remove himself from your care. In other words, you will get the boot. And if you get the boot, finding another doctor at the same facility may not be easy because it will be noted in your chart exactly why the doctor removed himself from your care.

1. Be open to what your doctor says. Keep a dialogue going. You can always ask for a referral to a specialist, and your doc would be happy to do that.

2.It is also helpful to keep in mind that your doctor is likely a Family Doctor or a General Practitioner. When your doctor sends you to another doctor, he is sending you to someone who specializes in your diagnosis. He refers you to a specialist so that they can work together to get you through the illness you have.

3. Make notes. Bring a list of questions with you to your appointment. Make notes while you are there regarding what he says. This will help you get the most out of your visit and help you feel more in control of your course of treatment.

4. Call the doctor. Sometimes going to the doctor is a very emotional event. You're scared and don't always hear things correctly. Call the doctor when you've had time to calm down and are ready to discuss what's going on. It may be the nurse who calls you with the answers, but she will have discussed your chart with the doctor first and will be relaying exactly what the doctor wants you to know.

I hope this comes in handy for someone. I know when Hubby was going through his major health crisis a few years back, there was so much that was a mystery. We didn't know what our rights were. I didn't know that the doctor was not able to discuss things with me. That's what really lead me to get the job that I have - so that I would understand things from both sides. I think being on the opposite side of the fence helps me to do my job better. I know what kind of questions are going through the patient's mind. I get it. And if I can help, I'm happy to do that.

In the mean time, send prayers and good vibes toward my sisters house!

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