Preventive Care

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?


Healthcare Reform Photoshop Contest

This should be good:

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season and to make sure something on health care reform gets done before the end of the year, Dr. Wes and his wife, Diane, would like to propose the first (and perhaps only) US Healthcare Reform Photoshop Contest.

Bring us your snark, your wit, your creativity about the health care reform efforts encapsulated in a single photograph. Photographs in support or against the current efforts will be equally considered, and you, dear internet devotees, will be the final judge. The winner receives an iPod Touch.

See larger photo and contest rules at Dr. Wes’ blog.