When Your Doctor Frustrates You

What can you do when you are frustrated by your doctor or your medical care (or the medicare care of a loved one)? It turns out, quite a lot. There are many reasons why your doctor may frustrate you, and some of these issues can be addressed directly with the doctor or the office. For example, if you feel that they doctor is talking at you instead of to you, you can gently point this out. Make sure that you bring a list of questions or concerns with you to your appointments and don’t be afraid to speak up when … Continue reading

The Good Old Informed Consent Form

If you are facing a surgical procedure, you will have to sign an informed consent form. This is a form that spells out what the risks and expected outcome of the procedure may be. It is used to confirm that you are aware of everything that will happen in the operating room or office and area allowing the doctors, nurses and staff to perform the procedures. You may have several consent forms to sign, depending on the procedure. For example, you may have one informed consent form for anesthesia and another for the actual surgery. Parents or guardians will have … Continue reading

Always Confirm Your Test Results. It Could Save Your Life

Imagine if you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer. Many of us are familiar with the panic and devastation that such a diagnosis causes. Now imagine that doctors knew that the cancer was there but didn’t tell you for more than a year. Meanwhile, the cancer had time to grow and spread. What would you do? For many people, this is not a “what if” but a reality. MSNBC recently reporting on the story of Peggy Kidwell, who’s cancer continued to eat away at her body for a year, while her mammogram report sat idle on the desk … Continue reading

Your Living Will

Do you know what a living will is and more importantly do you have one? As I mentioned in my last entry I made mine as soon as I heard the cancer diagnosis. I had discussed it before with my husband and my mother when it was in the news about that woman in Florida. At the age I was (only 35) I had not ever written that or my will. Now I know that is not being a good mom because I should have done that as soon as we had children but the idea of contemplating dying and … Continue reading

Legal Documents

This week I have found myself sitting in a hospital room with my husband and I have had a great deal of time to think. Yesterday I was asked to be a witness for another patient’s medical power of attorney and living will and it made me think. Do you have your medical power of attorney? Have you talked about how you would like your last days to be? Have you written out your living will? A few years ago there was that case of the Florida woman that was in a vegetative state and her husband wanted to remove … Continue reading

The Importance of Managing Medical Records

Recently I was in the office of a specialist. Before he even examined me, he sat at his computer terminal paging through my medical records. It was a good seven minutes before he finished, all while I sat there fidgeting wondering exactly what he was looking at. Various changes in expression were my only clue. That is when it dawned on me. I didn’t even have copies of my own records. My husband had a health crisis that started in December of 2009. Through his treatment, I was meticulous about getting copies of all of his records, from test results … Continue reading

Identifying a Real Medical Emergency

When there is a medical emergency, acting fast is so very important. Sometimes, though, we aren’t sure whether something we or a loved one is experiencing is a true medical emergency, an urgent care issue or something that needs a regular doctor’s office visit. Here are some guidelines that may help. First of all, I want to make it very clear that when in doubt, go to the emergency room and/or call your doctor. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Your doctor will not mind at all if you call for a problem that turns out to … Continue reading

It’s Not a Good Idea to Avoid the Doctor

There are many reasons we may avoid going to the doctor. For some people there is a sense of fear. My husband has always done his best to stay away from the doctor. I never really gave it much thought until one day he kept complaining about an ailment and I asked why he doesn’t just go to the doctor. His response was, “I don’t want to find out that something is wrong.” Even when we know something is wrong, sometimes we are afraid to actually hear about it. Now the particular ailment that my husband was complaining about wasn’t … Continue reading

So Why All the Mystery?

I hope you’re not too fed up with hearing about my uterus. It’s a pretty big deal for me, and a pretty major surgery on the horizon… so I’ve got a lot of processing to do. One lingering question isn’t so much about the health issue itself but about the mystery surrounding it. Why was my regular doctor not willing or able to make a definitive diagnosis when another doctor — faced with the same exact report from the ultrasound — did? I’ve come up with a few possibilities. For one thing, maybe the level of expertise is part of … Continue reading

Everybody’s Sick! What Do You Do?

Two of my favorite people in the world welcomed twins into their family back in July. They are amazing parents — at least in my humble opinion. It certainly doesn’t seem easy to have twins, but they make it look good. This month, they both got sick. Some sort of upper respiratory crud — not the flu, hopefully, because everybody had their flu shots — that lingered on and on, sapping energy on top of making them feel miserable. I was talking to mom as they were starting to get better… and she commented that she practically hadn’t seen dad … Continue reading