Tag Archives: doctors

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photo by permission, unsplash.com
photo by permission, unsplash.com

Today is Day 8 of a 31 Days Of Surviving Chronic Illness.  You can catch up on Day 1 here.

Today is going to be a mashup of a few tips as well as some snags to watch out for while navigating through the medical maze.

Tests/Procedures/Medications ordered by your doctor

  • It is always a mix of hopefulness and fear when a doctor orders test, procedures or medications for you.  Especially when you are unfamiliar with what he has ordered.  We have a tendency to just blindly trust doctors but experience has taught me this is unwise. When your doctor orders a new test, procedure or medication do your research before going through with it.  A good doctor will not be offended if you tell him you want to think about it first or even get a 2nd opinion. Don't let them bully you! If it makes you uncomfortable or your "good sense" is telling you to wait, listen up.  Because although some drugs get in/out of your system quickly, some can take several months and could have devastating side effects to your already taxed system.

 Pharmacies

  • Just like doctors, there are good pharmacies and bad ones.  Ask your doctor or your doctor's nurse which pharmacies they find the most reliable.
  • Once you find a pharmacy you like stick with it.  It really helps to have pharmacy staff that recognize you.  Once they know you they are much more likely to do little favors for you, process your prescriptions faster, phone the doctor when problems arise, etc.
  • Even after you find a good pharmacy, watch them like a hawk.  Mixups in prescription medicine happen all the time.  I have been given both double and half of the medication prescribed by my doctor by a lax pharmacist.  When you pick up your prescriptions, before you leave, take them out of the bag and look for any dosage changes.  Check if there were any substitutions such as generic for brand name or change in delivery method or dosage changes your doctor forgot to tell you about.
  • You know all that paperwork they attach to your bag of pills?  Read it!  Always read the expected side effects and the possible drug interactions.  In a perfect world you could rely on the doctor and the pharmacist to convey this information but that just isn't reality.
  • Your local pharmacist can be a wealth of information so don't be afraid to ask questions.  A great pharmacist can tell you what to expect when starting a new prescription as well as warn you about little known interactions like taking thyroid meds with dairy (don't do it, the calcium suppresses thyroid uptake).
  • Some pharmacies offer their own prescription plans for a low annual fee.  One of my friends, who did not have medical insurance, was prescribed an expensive pill.  A pill she could not afford.  She was able to sign up for the pharmacy's private prescription plan and get the medication at an affordable price.  Pharmacies also have consultations for blood pressure, flu shots, diabetes management and other conditions.  Just ask your pharmacist for info on all the ways they can help you.

Labs

  • Again, there are good ones and bad ones.  Ask your doctor or nurse which labs they prefer.
  • Some are more expensive than others so it pays to do some shopping around.  Cheaper isn't always better, but cheaper isn't always bad either.
  • If you have a baby or toddler that needs to have labwork done, be sure to ask around for the best lab for pediatric needs. Some phlebotomists just have a talent for working with children and the nurses know who they are.

Insurance

  • I cannot stress how important it is to read the EOB's (Explanation of Benefits) that your insurance company sends you after you receive treatment or have labwork done.  The EOB explains how much of the cost your insurance company is going to cover.  But there are OFTEN mistakes, either from the doctor/labs end or the insurance company's end or both.  After my first knee surgery I received a $5,000 bill from the hospital saying that my insurance was only going to cover 20% of my surgical expenses even though the surgery had been pre-approved.  After I picked myself up off the floor, had a very heated conversation with a clueless insurance adjuster, had a 2nd conversation with a more helpful insurance adjuster, and lastly a conversation with my HR department, a HUGE problem in the contracts of my entire medical group (effecting thousands of people) was discovered. A couple days later my claim was resubmitted and was covered by insurance.
  • If you are unsure of the details of your insurance coverage first call the number on the back of your card.  If you are still confused talk to your HR department.  If you still need some help, talk to the insurance broker who helps your company purchase insurance.  The answers are out there, don't give up until all your questions are answered.
  • Just because your doctor orders the test doesn't mean it's covered by insurance.  Some tests are considered "non essential" by insurance companies so if you are low on funds, call the insurance company before you have a procedures or labwork done.  If your insurance isn't going to cover the cost, talk to you doctor to see if there is another test that IS covered. Or postpone it until you can find a way to pay for it.

So those are just a few of the tips & tricks I have, I'm sure some of you have a few as well. Feel free to share them here or on the Facebook page!

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skeleton

We are on Day 4 of 31 Days of Surviving Chronic Illness; you can catch up on Day 1 here.

You’re sick, you go to the doctor, he gives you medication or treatment, you get better.  And live happily ever after. For some patients and certain conditions it really does  happen that way. If only it were only that simple for everyone.

If you have been seeing a doctor (or multiple doctors) for your illness and have experienced little to no improvement it’s time to take an unemotional, logical look at your situation.  

In my opinion, there are only 2 solutions to your problem:

  • Your current physician or medical professional has the answer or is willing to keep moving forward until the answer is found.

  • You need to find a different doctor (or multiple doctors) who has the answer or is willing to keep moving forward until the answer is found.

Let’s have an honest talk about doctors and medical professionals in general.  During my 12+ years of dealing with the medical community, struggling to find wellness, I've run across 3 types of doctors: The Good, The Bad and The Indifferent.

Let’s start with The Indifferent Doctor.  The Indifferent Doctor may not be a bad doctor, in general.  They may be great at diagnosing strep throat, pneumonia or high blood pressure.  The Indifferent Doctor might have a lot of experience in general family medicine, but not much outside of that.  The Indifferent Doctor may not have more than 5-8 minutes to spend with you because of over-booking.  The Indifferent Doctor may be willing to run a few common tests but if they all come back within the normal range, they are not willing to explore further. It’s not that they are an unfeeling or uncompassionate, but their lack of knowledge or experience hinders them from moving forward with your care.  

And sometimes it isn't their fault at all.  The Indifferent Doctor may have tests or treatments in mind but is hindered by the medical group he belongs to or a controlling Board of Directors and is not able to or willing to “fight the system” for you. Sometimes The Indifferent Doctor is as frustrated with the system as you are, and they have given up.

Now let’s talk about The Bad Doctor. Unfortunately, having an interest in healing people is not a requirement for becoming a physician.  In fact, common sense is not required either.  All you need to graduate from medical school and go on to become a doctor is the ability to go to school for a really long time.  I DO have a ton of respect for the arduous process of becoming a physician; it’s a grueling, expensive process. Doctors are overworked and often in debt to the tune of $200,000 by the time they finally finish their residency and begin making a real paycheck.

But that does not give them the right to behave like they are gods.  And that is exactly  how The Bad Doctor behaves.  The Bad Doctor will speak down to you, as if you couldn't possibly be intelligent enough to understand what he/she is talking about.  The Bad Doctor will act annoyed when you ask questions or challenge their opinion on a suggested treatment or prescription and will not order tests or treatments based on your research or requests.

The Bad Doctor will make it clear to you that you are wasting his time.  It is not unusual for a Bad Doctor to yell at patients, slam doors or verbally insult the very people they have been hired to help.  A Bad Doctor will not offer support, sympathy or hope.  They won’t look you in the eye while speaking to you, shake your hand and otherwise show no humanity.  Rather than admit they don’t know the answer or refer you to another physician who might, a Bad Doctor will tell you to “just learn to live with it.” Yes, I had a doctor tell me that.  Bad Doctor!

Finally, let’s talk about The Good Doctor!  The Good Doctors are not easy to find, but they are out there.  The Good Doctor makes this whole journey through chronic illness bearable.

Because they recognize that your involvement is critical to achieve lasting health, The Good Doctor not only allows, but welcomes your questions.  The Good Doctor will take as much time as necessary during your office visit and always finishes a visit with “Do you have any questions for me?”.  When you leave an appointment with a Good Doctor you feel listened to.

The Good Doctor will listen to your opinions and although may disagree with you, will do it in such a way that you still feel respected.  They will look you in the eye when speaking to you, shake your hand and make you feel like a person, not a check mark on their to-do-list.

They don’t pretend to know it all and The Good Doctor is not afraid to tell you when they have run out of ideas.  They are always willing to send you to a specialist that might have more knowledge about your condition.  The Good Doctor doesn't give up on you. 

You deserve the best treatment that can be found. Don't waste your time and money on any physician who cannot or will not show an active interest in your journey back to wellness.  Fire The Bad Doctor, come to grips with the limitations of The Indifferent Doctor and go find yourself a Good Doctor!

 

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surviving chronic illness

Each October The Nesting Place (aka: The Nester) hosts a challenge called 31 Days Of... in which bloggers/writers commit to posting one new article each day about any topic of their choice. The first year I participated I wrote for 31 Days on "The Simple Things."  It was a pretty tough challenge but I truly loved the practice of writing for one straight month.  And "simple things" was a fun and easy topic.

So this year I'm participating again, this time on a subject that has been pressing on my heart for quite some time.  I knew I needed to share some of these things with my readers but I wasn't quite sure how to go about it and then the 31 Days Of challenge provided the perfect venue.

My topic of choice this year is 31 Days Of Surviving Chronic Illness.  It's a more serious topic than I've tackled before but my hope is that it will be informative and encouraging for those who are suffering from chronic illness or have loved ones that do. The series will run October 1st through October 31st.

I hope you will follow along on this 31 day journey with me.  If you know someone who is suffering from chronic pain or illness, please share this series with them, I will provide several sharing links as we progress through the month.  And if anyone has any questions or a subject they would like more information on please, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me, y'all really are the best.