Monday, August 06, 2007

When to actually call your doctor


…That’s all you ever hear: Ask your doctor. Call your doctor. See your doctor first.

…Has anyone tried calling a doctor? Some of them keep their machines on during the workday! Leave a message, stay home to wait for the word, etc. (HA needed to get that out of her system—and don’t forget the Lunch Two Hour—the time almost all offices go dead. And, if course, the Weekend—which HA and her family call The Black Hole of Healthcare.)

…Anyhow, The Prepared Patient (http://cfah.org/hbns/preparedpatient/current.cfm, points out that most Americans with chronic conditions (diabetes, high BP, allergies) pretty much soldier on alone on a day to day basis.

…So how do you know when you could actually…call your doctor?

…The doctor should tell you, for one thing—give you a list of things to look out for. Have you noticed that most don’t even tell you side effects of meds anymore—they are afraid you will talk yourself into them, HA guesses. She goes home and looks up the downsides on the internet.

…So the doctor tells you what “doctor-worthy” signs might appear.

…You also must listen to your body. Is something weird, hurting more, different? “The feeling something has changed,” one doc said.

…Newsweek recently had a story about an athlete with Type I diabetes and she was all over the map preparing for a marathon. Her sugar was up, down, she was taking insulin, ooops, too much, yipes, etc.

…One patient in the story said she didn’t have “blind faith,” she had “educated faith” in her meds. She refused some.

…Some patients monitor at home—even buying peak flow meters in the case of asthma.

…Some consult triage nurses at their doctors’ offices, rather than making an appointment. Pharmacists can also answer questions.

…It’s your body—ask the doctor what to expect and then stay on top of it. It may not mean a trip to the office.

…Incidentally, when you call your doctor, does he or she call back? Or does an associate call and tell you to make an appointment?

…Does your doctor respond to a fax?

…Yes, HA lives in a dreamworld—look, there’s a unicorn!

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