Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How To Know When To Fire Your Doctor Or Medical Specialist

Dear Lit Loves,

Greetings fellow lit loves!  The latest newly released memoir in my reading queue has not arrived yet; therefore, I had a request from a supporter to please write a blog post about how to know when it is time to fire a doctor or medical specialist since I have immense experience with the medical profession as a patient and patient advocate.  No problem.  This one is right up my dirt road.

First, it should be noted that I have medical specialists for gastrointestinal issues (colitis), eye problems (Uveitis, Uveitic Glaucoma and Retina Swelling), inner ear disease (Meniere's disease), skin issues (Basal Cell Carcinoma), a neurology disorder (tension migraines), autoimmune disorder (undetermined but treated with an oral chemo drug) and I'm seen regularly by a medical specialist who treats me for anxiety, insomnia and post traumatic stress disorder.  Additionally, I also was my dad's health advocate through CHOP chemo, a stem cell transplant and monoclonal antibody therapy utilized to treat his diagnosis of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma CD30+ and I also assisted my mom with her treatment for breast cancer.

After more than thirty years of being treated for one unusual illness after another, I've learned when I need to stop seeing a medical specialist and find a new one.  For instance, let me explain my most recent experience when I moved from Georgia to North Carolina and was referred to a medical specialist that obviously did not have my best health interests in mind.

Red Flags That Indicate You May Need To Fire A Doctor And Find A New Medical Specialist:

1)  First, I arrived at the office of a specialist I was referred to by a doctor who treated me in Atlanta.  When I arrived at the office front desk, the staff was entirely "off task".  In other words, instead of checking me in as a patient, they were especially enthused about the Carolina Panthers and their success in the 2015 NFL season.  Finally, a receptionist got around to addressing me as I stood there waiting to write my copay and confirm my appointment with the doctor.  It was also interesting that the receptionist handed me paperwork which should be filled out prior to my appointment with the doctor.  This paperwork would take about twenty minutes to completely finish.  I asked why this questionnaire hadn't been sent to me in the mail prior to my appointment, but the receptionist had no idea why I had not received it earlier.

2)  I never had time to complete the medical questionnaire because I had only arrived fifteen minutes prior to my appointment time and it would have taken me twenty minutes to complete the questionnaire.  No worries.  A nurse called me back for my appointment and took the questionnaire even though I informed her it was not completed.  And I never got the chance to complete the forms. So I guess that information wasn't important or was not pertinent to my case? 

3)  The fellowship doctor who arrived in the patient room to see me first had no information on my patient history nor did she have any of my medical records from my previous doctor.  She had the form I faxed to the doctor in Atlanta who obviously had at some point done her job and faxed the new doctor her notes on my case and my test results; however, the fellowship physician could not locate those notes or test results.  She actually said she thought they had most likely been misplaced or lost.

4)  The new physician arrives to examine me and does not really adequately know my medical history because she had not already discussed my case history with my previous doctor.  Nor had the physician bothered to locate the notes and test results that her office had misplaced.  The doctor listens as I tell her I've been successfully treated for my illness for 28 years via medication, but then tells me her preference for my treatment would be surgery and shots to the inner ear.  (In my opinion if the medication I'm taking has worked for 28 years why would you fix what obviously ain't broken, you know what I mean?)

5)  Though I reviewed with the new physician my medication regimen that has been successfully keeping the illness under control, she dismisses the treatment entirely and believes her treatment plan of surgery and shots is the best treatment option for me.  That might be the most expensive option and highest reimbursement option for her, but it wasn't the best treatment regimen for me.

6)  The new physician refuses to refill any of the medications the previous doctor had me taking.  If some of the medications were stopped completely and without tapering, I might have suffered serious side effects which would have left me in a very bad condition.

7)  The new physician sends me to her audiology department for $1500 worth of hearing tests, but then says she cannot go over the results of those tests with me today as she's too busy.   The doctor then says we will go over the hearing test results during my return appointment IN SIX MONTHS!

8)  It is also especially disrespectful if a doctor does not take the time to sit with a patient, look them in the eye and have an open discussion about the patient's illness.  I had a doctor get up during my discussion with her and begin to locate her medical instruments she would use to check my inner ear so in essence her back was to me while I was attempting to have a conversation with her.  This says to me that she doesn't not believe I am an important patient nor is my case.

9)  I always take someone with me to most of my appointments with a new doctor because I like to have someone else's opinion regarding what he/she thought of the doctor and his/her behavior, comments and efforts to help me.  The person I took with me to see this particular doctor felt as I did that there was a definite lack of adequate follow through regarding my case history and the doctor conducted the appointment in a hurried manner.  Plus, the doctor left me without the ability to obtain refills for medications I had been taking for several  years and did not go over my test results with me.

10)  I often ask a doctor or specialist how they feel the doctor/patient relationship works.  The best possible scenario is that a doctor collaborates with a patient on their treatment plan and doesn't assume he or she is the guru and you as a patient just follow her orders.  It's a two way street in my opinion.  We both should be working together to design an optimal treatment plan for my diagnosis.  If this isn't the case, I leave and know it's time to locate a more qualified and respectful specialist.

Here's wishing you good health along with the patience and good fortune to locate the best doctor
or specialist you can.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Out With NC House Bill 2 And Out With Gov. Pat McCrory

Dear Lit Loves,

Well folks, this is not going to be a post about the latest memoir book release.  This is about NC House Bill 2 which NC Governor Pat McCrory and our lawmakers pushed through the legislative branches of our government in a single day.  It's a ludicrous bill and it discriminates against the LGBT community.  It basically says that a transgender person must utilize the restroom of the gender on their birth certificate, not the gender with which they identify.  And supposedly, this law is for the safety of children. I don't have children, but I would be more worried about protecting them from pedophiles which most law enforcement profilers describe as generally middle to upper class white males.  Folks, this mess of legislation is against the law.  It promotes and sanctions discrimination.  Last time I checked, that's illegal.

Recently, on my local NC evening news television station I saw one set of people protesting peacefully against the HB2 law in downtown Raleigh and then I saw what appeared to be evangelical, conservative so-called "christians" standing at a podium yelling their endorsement of this HB2 bill.  How hypocritical!  And worse, I next saw a person who was part of the group endorsing the law walk over and get in the face of the folks peacefully protesting against the law.  See who exactly was the aggressor in this situation?  Let's apply the christian motto of "What Would Jesus Do?" right here, right now.  I don't think Jesus or at least the one I came to know as a Methodist would endorse this law and I know he would not have been trying to pick a fight with a person peacefully protesting against the law in downtown Raleigh, NC. 

This HB2 law is going to hit North Carolina in the wallet.  Oh yes, businesses are already pulling plans for job growth in North Carolina; musicians are cancelling concerts; conventions that were to take place in North Carolina, mark my words, will be cancelled and rightly so.  The backlash is just beginning.  I foresee federal funds being taken away from NC secondary and post secondary schools.  So you know what I'm going to do in November?  I am voting out Governor Pat McCrory and any NC lawmaker who voted to pass this legislation cause the last thing we need more of in this state is more Bigots.  I don't know about you, but I'm not going to allow ignorant and intolerant lawmakers cause North Carolina to become known as the "backassward" state.  No, not on my watch.

And to the folks of TownDock.net in Oriental, North Carolina who supposedly created this satirical blog piece depicting a woman in a white lab coat wearing blue lab gloves and wearing a "gender compliance officer" sign, let me say this:  I didn't find it funny; I didn't find it amusing; I found it insulting.  And by the way, the woman in the accompanying blog picture who was posing as the gender compliance officer?  Grandma from The Beverly Hillbillies just called and she wants her hairstyle back and I found your blog post about this law grossly repulsive and repugnant.

Amy (Grace)