MEDICATION, VITAMINS, SURGERIES, & MORE
Preventative Health Care As we age at some point everyone wil be diagnosed with some sort medical condition whether it be dry mouth or cancer, it does not matter. What matters is that you need to learn to become your own health care advocate. Everyone should at least have a primary care physician they see yearly. If you don’t have one, you should get one quick. When people ask me what my first priority in life is they are usual y shocked – my health! Then I explain that if I am not healthy I am no good to my other priorities in life [i.e. husband, family, friends, and my volunteering] In my past life I was an Account Executive in the Employee Benefits field. Also, my mother who is a retired nurse set a good example of being proactive with my health. Did you know that your insurance should cover preventative healthcare? Do you know what you’re eligible for when? If not, you should find out. Typical y for women its yearly flu shots and OB/GYN visit, a baseline mammogram at age 35 [earlier if there is a family history of breast cancer], yearly mammograms starting at age 40, a colonoscopy starting at 50, eligibility for pneumonia and shingles shots at age 60.
Do I like al the above I’ve had done or wil need done in the future? Absolutely not, however I do it anyway because of those I love. Your doctor’s may not always tel you these things, which is why you need to be your own health care advocate. I told my doctor at age 35 that I needed a referral for a mammogram. He told me I was too young as I had no family history of breast cancer. I told him it was covered by my insurance and to just give me the referral and let me worry about it. If you don’t know what your preventative medical coverage is then just cal the number on the back of your insurance ID card and ask. Surgery If a doctor tel s you that you need surgery do you just say okay and schedule it? I don’t for a very good reason. Most insurance companies wil pay for a “Second Surgical Opinion” so use it. If both doctor’s agree on your treatment find, if they don’t agree you need to do your research and find out what is best for you. Cal the insurance company, explain the situation and ask to see a third. I saw three back doctors’ that said the same thing – I had a herniated L4-L5 from my test results. I tried physical therapy and injections and nothing helped which made me skeptical when they al discussed outpatient surgery. So, I looked for one more opinion and found a great doctor. You only get an appointment with him once you send him your test results and then they will call you to make an appointment after he reviews those results. I was cal ed within three days for a consultation. What he told me on that visit was that yes, the report mentioned a “bulging” disc in my L4-L5, however the previous three doctors must have not read the second paragraph which said “herniated L5-S1” which is why the injections and targeted physical therapy wasn’t helping. He also did his
surgeries on an inpatient basis so people don’t “overdue things” when they need to rest. I scheduled surgery with him immediately. Not to bore you with examples, but I’ve actual y been rude to one. I was diagnosed with acid reflux by my father’s gastroenterologist and put on Prevacid for a month. It didn’t help so I went to see that doctor again and I asked for an abdominal ultrasound. He said that my gal bladder was a long shot and he didn’t think I needed it because it would only show large gal stones and not developing one. “Are you paying for the test, or wil my insurance be paying for the test? Because if my insurance covers it, I want the ultrasound today” [Yes I said this]. When he returned with the results he had his head down a little when he told me that I had two large gal stones and I needed my gal bladder removed. That’s when I asked him for copies of all my medical records and told him I would be finding another doctor to do the surgery. My motto is that I wil listen to my doctors but fol ow my gut if something nags at me. How You Can Help Your Doctor or Doctors? These days it seems that doctors are getting busier. When I worked in the field they were al owed to a lot a minimum of 15 minutes for every patient – yes 15 minutes. Do you want to waste that time discussing basic things like the medications and vitamins you are on, your al ergies, and any surgeries you’ve had? When I realized this time crunch I decided to do something for my doctors so they would have more time for me. I created a spreadsheet [actual y a table in Microsoft Word] that I hand to every doctor every time I see them if something has changed on that table. It lists who I am, my birthdate,
the date of the table, the medications I’m on, the vitamins I take, the surgeries I’ve had, and most important I think is my allergies [I’m allergic to Penicillin]. This lets the doctor’s immediately have in their possession a summary of my medical history and current list of anything I’m taking including over-the-counter medications and vitamins. [There is a sample of the word document I use at the end of this document and in a usable form in Murphy’s Attic.] Medical Records If you have an ongoing medical condition, see multiple doctors, or are a snowbird, it is always handy to have a copy of your medical records. Every time I see a specialist and they run a test or some blood work I always ask for a copy before I leave the office. I then make sure to get those records to my primary care physician so he knows everything that is going on, who I’ve seen, and what’s been done. Not only does it avoid duplicates in your treatment, but that way one doctor knows everything going on with you and in many cases help guide you through your healthcare. I just decided to change primary care physicians as I wasn’t pleased with the care I was getting from my current one. Once I found a new one, I cal ed and requested al my records from the office of my original primary I had in Florida. I warn you; sometimes they will want to charge you to mail them. I just went and picked mine up. When I went to see the new primary I had my medical records and summary list with me. Since my old primary was coordinating my care it contained everything from other doctor’s I had seen [i.e. back doctor, gastroenterologist, etc.] Now not only did he have a summary, but he also has al my records that back up the reasons why those surgeries were done, or when I started taking a certain prescription, or what year
I was diagnosed with mononucleosis [I was 16]. All of these things will help you get the most out of your doctor’s that you can. Disclaimer Al the above is just my opinion – take it or leave it. All I know is that for two years my father knew something was wrong with him. He had stomach problems as symptoms. He went to multiple doctors, had multiple tests done, and went through countless medications and nothing helped. One day, while out on his regular run he came home limping. He thought he pulled something, but his gut told him something was up. He made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who did the test that saved his life – a scan on his leg. The diagnosis was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They found a tumor the size of an orange growing inside his bone marrow, which was starting to eat away at the inside of his femur. Once he was diagnosed and they were looking for cancer they found growths throughout his lymphatic system. Guess where they found a smal tumor – his stomach. Thankful y he is twenty years in remission. However, it took him two years of being his own active heath care advocate and fol owing his gut to get to the bottom of things.
ALLERGIC TO ______________
Primary Care Physician name and number [If seeing a specialist]
Sedative and Hypnotic Withdrawal Worksheet Instrument: Modified CIWA-A Patient: The trigger point for this protocol is 6. Symptoms & Intoxication Signs: Nystagmus Give only one score for each block. Withdrawal Signs: Hallucinations DBP > 100 Sitting/Standing Orthostasis Sedative and Hypnotic Withdrawal Worksheet Instrument: Modified CIWA-A Inst
Drug Safety Latest advice for medicines usersThe monthly newsletter from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agencyand its independent advisor the Commission on Human MedicinesVolume 3, Issue 10 May 2010 Contents Drug safety advice Stop press Other information from the MHRA Professionals who prescribe antidepressants will wish to be aware of our The Medicin