A recent comment from Doctor D:
If people are getting most of their care from a specialist it is always important to check in with their Family Doc to make sure they aren’t missing the essential preventative care.
One of the early things I learned in my research about this monster disease is that it is common for people with RA to skip preventive-care appointments with their PCP. I found that puzzling, since it would seem that one would want to be extra vigilant in caring for oneself in this situation.
Now I understand. I’ve crammed a lifetime of doctor’s visits into this past year and there is no way on God’s green earth that I’m looking to make any additional office visits.
I saw my rheumatologist in February, May, July, August, September, and October – with another follow-up scheduled in December. Seven doctor’s appointments in twelve months.
Three times I’ve seen the podiatrist. Helpful. A very nice specialist. Nice, too, that I don’t have to go back any time soon.
This year I also saw my PCP in January, February, March, May, June, July, September, and October. I have another follow-up appointment with him next month (and hopefully not until June after that!). Nine more doctor’s appointment in those same twelve months.
Ten times this year I’ve had a needle stuck in my arm to draw blood and there’s sure to be another b/w order next month, too. These do not take place in my doctor’s offices, but in a separate lab. Although sometimes the blood draws are immediately following a doctor’s appointment, there have been multiple days that I had to make a special trip into town just to have lab work done.
Tests: this year I’ve had x-rays on three separate occasions, an ultrasound, a biopsy, an MRI, and an EMG.
This brings me to a grand total of nineteen doctor’s appointments, eleven blood draws, and seven extra tests (plus a car wreck at highway speeds with resultant EMS ride to the ER, CT scans, etc.) in a single calendar year. No wonder people skip preventive care!
Extra appointments? Not if I can help it! Kidney stones? Drink more water; they’ll pass. Gallstones? Drink an oj/oil concoction (nasty tasting, but effective). Rotator cuff problems? Hot packs and exercise are beneficial and can be done in the comfort of your own home. I’ve set a record for doctor’s appointments this year. While I am incredibly grateful for the care I have received, I am D O N E !!!
One trick I recently learned is that I can schedule two appointments back-to-back. Instead of follow-up for an ongoing issue, then a separate appointment for something else on a different day, I can schedule two appointments back-to-back, pay two co-pays, and get everything taken care of all at once. This is one of those little tips I wish I’d known a couple years ago – definitely a time saver.
I do recognize the importance of preventive medicine, so (despite my reluctance) I’ll see my PCP for the appropriate preventive exam. Next year.
How about you? How often do you schedule a routine, preventive appointment?