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Old 03-23-2010, 07:27 AM   #1
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Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

I can not stress how extremely important it is that you MAINTAIN AND UNDERSTAND your own medical records and that you request the right kind of appointment when you go to the doctor.

The appointment... most often you will be scheduled for a minimal time UNLESS you specify more time is needed. Doctors love to take things one at a time, but rarely does a FM patient have just one thing going on. Make it clear you wish you did just have one thing going on, but you will need time to cover several. Help your doctor get paid for the level of service he provides. And NEVER expect your doctor to remember a gosh darn thing about you, other than you sure take up a bunch of his time and complain a lot. ONLY YOU can understand the very real reasons you are there. ONLY YOU can be prepared to recap the DOCUMENTED problems as real when the response you receive seems indifferent, calculatedly cold, or uncaring leaving you feeling you're making a bunch of hooey out of nothing.

Suggestions for the medical records...
--Request a copy of your medical records at least every two years, making sure your doctor's office knows you aren't planning on leaving and you just want them for yourself. You will likely be charged around $25 at each doctor's office.
--Request a copy of your drug expenditures from your pharmacy annually.
--Set up a notebook
-----The first section to contain a separate page for every year. When you have your records, write in each date of visit, where you visited, and the problem/diagnosis and then file each report under the correct year.
-----The second section contains an ongoing list of each diagnosis, with the date(s) listed. Review this list prior to every appointment.
-----The third section contains an ongoing list of items for follow up. So if you are diagnosed with, say, a nodule in your lung, list it here. Review this list prior to every appointment.
-----The fourth section contains a list of all drugs used in alphabetical order--when a doctor asks you "have we tried...," you won't have to rely on your less-than-reliable fibro-fogged brain.
-----The fifth section is a list of all doctors--their name, practice name, specialty, address, and phone/fax numbers.
-----The sixth contains printouts of studies concerning your various diagnoses, which are highlighted where applicable to you; i.e., on a fibro printout, I'd underline TMJ/jaw clenching. Keep only printouts from legitimate sites such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins (top in neurology), etc. The rest are a dime a dozen and few doctors take seriously anyone "beneath" them. (BTW, it doesn't hurt to find out how your state stands in each profession; i.e., our city is only 32 in that top 100 neurology list---I remember that every time some diety-complexed doctor looks down at me.)
--LAST, BUT MOST IMPORTANT, UNDERSTAND YOUR RECORDS. Any word on those reports can be understood by just googling "define whatever". Understand every single word. AND take this notebook with you to your medical appointments. If you read findings on a report that alarm you and can't find enough info online, ASK your doctor for a prognosis and more info based on that finding. i.e., if you have spinal stenosis 8 years after having surgery to fix spinal stenosis, ASK what to expect from here on. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING INCORRECT OR INACCURATE in your record, report it and ask that it be revised.

ONLY YOU can manage this horrible mess! ONLY YOU will care sufficiently to help.

Last edited by baserockermom; 03-23-2010 at 03:42 PM.

 
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:59 AM   #2
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

what happened girlfriend?
peace,
blue

 
Old 03-23-2010, 10:46 AM   #3
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

Hi, bluelakelady and thanks for asking. 12 weeks of severe pain, swelling and nausea that is NOT due to the surgery I had for a injury (hernia) that went thru the incision site of 2 surgeries from a year ago--that's what's happening and the phenomena of how my low self-esteem, mealy mouth, don't-wanna-be-perceived-as-a-whiner-or-a-bother attitude has prolonged my finding out it wasn't due to that injury/surgery and prolonged my getting help. Back on track this week and hopefully will get some relief after seeing a gastro guy and a pain guy. Saw the surgeon this morning and that appt went so much better with my decision to take charge instead of continue in this wimpy state with my docs.

Thanks again for asking. How are you?

 
Old 03-23-2010, 02:53 PM   #4
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

It really does reinforce to me the importance of being our own advocates - girl power is what i say! Long live the Spicegirls!!!! xxx
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:45 AM   #5
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

You got it, sweetlife!

 
Old 03-24-2010, 08:59 AM   #6
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

hi girlfriend,
doing better. just went thru a space of my thyroid acting up, lost more weight. got a steroid injection in my spine and changed my med for thyroid. the steroids helped me eat some, mosty junk and sweets, but i gained 3 pounds back!
spent alot of time in bed just thinking and dreaming. it was good for me. dealing with rather intense pain from the injection but figure it is so i can be stronger within as i deal with it. also going to see the doc friday. must be sure nothing went wrong.
life is good. got rid of a person who was a friend but became someone else. so peaceful to not have that anymore. nothing feels as good as ending a bad thing.
my daughter jackie and 2 kids are moving up home this month. she has been away 13 years getting her education and life so she could come home and make a living here in nowhere. also my daughter jessica is now engaged. not sure how i feel about that. she plans a 3 year engagement. afraid i don't like him much. yet, i don't have to sleep with him so what do i know? time will tell.
the gardens are lovely and all our nature friends are returning. life could not be more wonderful.
peace,
bluelakelady
ps. i am so proud of you for taking charge. you get one of my fantastic magic cartwheels. i am off to scare the cats and my brother as i hit the living room floor. giggle. cheering you on and on and on!!!!!!! advocate, advocate, advocate!!

 
Old 03-24-2010, 07:15 PM   #7
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

Cheese Its and sweets--Bluelakelady, it sounds like our diet has been the same for the past few weeks. I'd love to lose some weight, but have you lost too much? Why did they do a steroid in the spine? When you say your thyroid was acting up, what do you mean?

So I'm glad you were able to do some spring cleaning with the friend who wasn't much of a friend. Maybe Jessica will have a spring cleaning of her own before the three year engagement is up. Mother usually knows best. That's awesome your older daughter is going to be near.

I don't know about the garden, but the weeds are sure returning. We've had a lot of rain. I got some pine straw today.

Good talking to you! I'm impressed if you can do a cartwheel!

Last edited by baserockermom; 03-24-2010 at 07:16 PM.

 
Old 03-25-2010, 08:53 AM   #8
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

hi girlfriend,
yes i can still do a cartwheel. well, half of one. my spine fused L3 and 4 so i don't bend quite enough. the steroid was supposed to help with pain in my butt. right butt cheek to be exact. been bothering me for 2 years. this is my 3rd round of steroids. i see the doc tomorrow to find out what went wrong this last time. i am my own pain in the arse. giggle.
my thyroid got too hyper so i had to reduce the amount of med i take.
weight loss has been an issue for a couple of years. it got worse a few months ago and i could not eat anything. not even candy!!!! now you know that got my attention. we explored celiac disease, don't have it. whew! tho the diet was interesting.
i got down to 114 and i am 5'5". who would know when all this started and i weighed 180 that gaining weight would become an issue. not me!
we had buckets of rain last night. a good night for not being able to sleep. it was beautiful and smelled so of flowers in bloom. the moon broke thru about midnight casting shades of purple, green, gold, and blue thru the clouds.
as for the girls, well i am happy jackies on her way home and as for jessica, well i have to leave that to nature and just love. i raised my kids to be independant. they are!! giggle. whatever comes she will learn from it, be it joy or sadness.
have fun spreading out your straw. we use hay to keep the weeds down. we have a quarter acre. keeps brother busy. me, i just watch and direct. giggle.
hope that clears up any worries you may have. i shall be just fine, even if only within my mind. it is enough.
peace,
blue

 
Old 03-26-2010, 06:25 AM   #9
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

bluelakelady, I had no idea you were going through all of that. Your attitude is enviable.

 
Old 03-26-2010, 06:29 AM   #10
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

Bluelakelady and Anyone Else Who is Better at This Than Me: Ok, so I wrote all that stuff below on a ticked-off day. You'd think I could go into a specialist's office after all that resolve and do something more than allow him to spend two seconds checking me and three minutes recording inaccurate info into his handheld device. Reminded me of road runner. How do y'all go into an office intent on seeing 300 patients per day per doctor and get a guy to freaking stop long enough to at least know your current problem? Sometimes I wish I had not been raised polite.

Quote
I can not stress how extremely important it is that you MAINTAIN AND UNDERSTAND your own medical records and that you request the right kind of appointment when you go to the doctor.

The appointment... most often you will be scheduled for a minimal time UNLESS you specify more time is needed. Doctors love to take things one at a time, but rarely does a FM patient have just one thing going on. Make it clear you wish you did just have one thing going on, but you will need time to cover several. Help your doctor get paid for the level of service he provides. And NEVER expect your doctor to remember a gosh darn thing about you, other than you sure take up a bunch of his time and complain a lot. ONLY YOU can understand the very real reasons you are there. ONLY YOU can be prepared to recap the DOCUMENTED problems as real when the response you receive seems indifferent, calculatedly cold, or uncaring leaving you feeling you're making a bunch of hooey out of nothing.

Suggestions for the medical records...
--Request a copy of your medical records at least every two years, making sure your doctor's office knows you aren't planning on leaving and you just want them for yourself. You will likely be charged around $25 at each doctor's office.
--Request a copy of your drug expenditures from your pharmacy annually.
--Set up a notebook
-----The first section to contain a separate page for every year. When you have your records, write in each date of visit, where you visited, and the problem/diagnosis and then file each report under the correct year.
-----The second section contains an ongoing list of each diagnosis, with the date(s) listed. Review this list prior to every appointment.
-----The third section contains an ongoing list of items for follow up. So if you are diagnosed with, say, a nodule in your lung, list it here. Review this list prior to every appointment.
-----The fourth section contains a list of all drugs used in alphabetical order--when a doctor asks you "have we tried...," you won't have to rely on your less-than-reliable fibro-fogged brain.
-----The fifth section is a list of all doctors--their name, practice name, specialty, address, and phone/fax numbers.
-----The sixth contains printouts of studies concerning your various diagnoses, which are highlighted where applicable to you; i.e., on a fibro printout, I'd underline TMJ/jaw clenching. Keep only printouts from legitimate sites such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins (top in neurology), etc. The rest are a dime a dozen and few doctors take seriously anyone "beneath" them. (BTW, it doesn't hurt to find out how your state stands in each profession; i.e., our city is only 32 in that top 100 neurology list---I remember that every time some diety-complexed doctor looks down at me.)
--LAST, BUT MOST IMPORTANT, UNDERSTAND YOUR RECORDS. Any word on those reports can be understood by just googling "define whatever". Understand every single word. AND take this notebook with you to your medical appointments. If you read findings on a report that alarm you and can't find enough info online, ASK your doctor for a prognosis and more info based on that finding. i.e., if you have spinal stenosis 8 years after having surgery to fix spinal stenosis, ASK what to expect from here on. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING INCORRECT OR INACCURATE in your record, report it and ask that it be revised.

ONLY YOU can manage this horrible mess! ONLY YOU will care sufficiently to help.
Quote

 
Old 03-26-2010, 08:32 AM   #11
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

you stand between the doctor and the door so they can't leave till you move. i was raised polite too. grandma buddie taught me the where to stand thing. my family taught me to be very polite with an undertone of don't mess with me, dripping in honey of course.
i also tell doctors what i want or how i feel. i don't ask i tell. i use my calm voice with a rock hard undertone that is pretty hard to miss.
perhaps it is time to go shopping for a new doc? nothing, nothing feels as empowering as saying "you are fired" to a doctor. we and only we must advocate for our own health. being heard is critical. they may not understand since they don't live in our bodies, but they do have ears and i pay for them to use those ears and listen.
my daddy taught me another very important lesson. for those who intimidate you, he said imagine that person first thing in the morning with bad breath, gooky stuff in their eyes, sitting on the toilet. no one he said is better or less than you. i still use that one and nothing takes the air out of a puffed up ego like me laughing my head off at . . . nothing they can see. if they ask i tell them.
i mess my doctors schedule up every time i go in. he is used to that now and plans for me to take alot of time. smart man. giggle.
breath deep and let the anger and frustration go. the turkey got enough of your energy.
peace,
bluelakelady

 
Old 03-26-2010, 09:11 AM   #12
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

I've only been messed with once - and once was enough. I wrote to the practice detailing everything that had happened, expressed my concern and then told them what I wanted to happen in the future....I now make sure I have everything written down that I want to talk to them about/ask questions on then when Im at the appointment I let them know straight away that I want to talk to them about a, b, c and d so they get a quick summary and then without giving them time to say anything I then give them more detail about A (and so on). My brothers a doctor (so I often drop that in to the conversation and even if you haven't got a dr in your family - make it up!!!!!) and he reminded me once that us patients pay their wages - without us they don't have a job - so if they c..p and everyone fires them then they have no income!!!!!! A bit blase I know but that's the truth...I like the comment from Blue between standing between them and the door. Another thought is take someone with you - someone you know that can be assertive......there are some amazing Drs out there and like in every walk of life awful ones - we all need to find a Dr who is there to support us and help us to regain our health - not ones that make us feel worse than when we walked in......xxxxx
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:09 PM   #13
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

First chance I have had to read this thread. Some very good advice here. I have learned through experience and I agree with everything said. Some docs have only had one visit from me and they were finished, some have had two visits. It is the ones with possibility that get a few more visits to work out our communication give and take. Most of them have worked out just fine, but the first time I get a, no no I think you are just fine, that is it with me. No give and take, no listening, see you later.

I like the advice to remind the doc about who you are, and what is going on with you. Don't depend on them to remember. All they have is just a quick glance at your chart outside the door. When my rheumy told me I didn't need to worry about something to do with one of my medications until I was older and I said doc I am older, and he said no I mean until you are in your late 50's. I looked at him and said doc, I am 58yrs.old. He started looking through my chart like I was lieing to him. I had been seeing this doc for a few years. He was embarrassed and I was laughing. I had the same thing with my PCP, I was telling her about some ache or pain and I said maybe it isn't worse than any other 58 yr. old.....and she started giggling and said 58yr. old. This was before the rheumy. so I didn't think anything of it. When the rheumy didn't know my age, that is when the light bulb went on. The docs were discounting some of my complaints and questions because I am fortunate enough to not show my age. So now I inform my docs in a polite way how old I am when I have questions and things to discuss. Believe me I don't like saying, Ok doc now that I am 60 should I this or that. It is no fun admitting your age.....giggle. I think baserockermom said it, you have to let the docs know who you are and what is going on with you every time

Glojer

 
Old 03-26-2010, 05:16 PM   #14
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

Bluelakelady, "stand between the doctor (who's sitting on the pot in his bed ruffled hair) and the door." Now that's just priceless. Sweetlife, I married the assertive one and I keep trying to act like him, to pretend I am his sister (she's also assertive). He said the same as you; he's the one who said make sure you get the right appointment--I like how specific you get. With my pcp, I'm doing this now, but this was a brand new doc that I picked off internet reviews only to find my pcp and surgeon both thought he was great. So I went in there thinking he'd be great and after I interrupted his dictation five times to correct him, I felt, "What's the use? He's not what you hoped. Get over it." What constitutes "great" to these people? What it is for me is a movement disorder guy I took my father-in-law to once. The man spent well over an hour evaluating him that first visit. He then gave him a medicine that worked. That's a modern day hero to me. This beep beep roadrunner guy is a dime a dozen.

Thanks y'all. Hey Glojer!

 
Old 03-26-2010, 05:19 PM   #15
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Re: Medical Records - Be in Charge!!!!! and Ask for the Right Kind of Appointment

BTW, Glojer, I'm jealous.

 
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