Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What was this supposed to do?

Today I am off to the pain doctor to talk about next steps because of my new areas of pain. Well, they aren't new areas, they have been there but since other areas hurt more, I could ignore the other ones. Now these hurt more, the others that were treated hurt less, so off we go.

The other topic of conversation is to discuss the healing time and issues required from my last procedure at the end of July. I have been wondering about this. I realize I have been a little lax about making sure I understand what a procedure was supposed to do and what the healing period would be from it. You would think I would have learned by now that I need to make sure I understand these things.

Here's the process, the doctor tells you s/he recommends this next procedure ('fun' medical adventure with needles that might leave scarring). You listen for a minute or two and agree. They get the scheduler in to pick a date, you sign a release and wait for your day. But wait, why are you doing this? What is this going to cure/resolve/prove? What are the risks? What are the benefits? What is healing time if any? DID I ASK? No.

Now there is a study out (I swear there is a new medical study going on all the time - your tax dollars and medical dollars at work) that says there is a disconnect in doctor-patient communication. I think I agree. The article is blaming the doctors for this but I am not sure its actually all their fault. It takes two to tango as they say and I think the patient has equal responsibility to learn about their next medical adventure before it happens (unless it is done on an emergency basis and is being rushed).

I think I need to make a little list of questions to be asked before the next procedure, whenever that may be (but could be scheduled as early as this afternoon when I see the doctor):

1. What is this going to do? What is the goal of this?
2. Why is it right for me?
3. What can I expect after this? Is there a healing/recovery time period?
4. How long until I feel the benefits of this?
5. What are the risks of the procedure?
6. What else do I need to know before this procedure?

Now I am sure this is just a rough start but I should come up with a list of questions that I want answered before the procedure takes place. Its my body and I should make sure I understand.


Lauren said...

I strongly agree that there is a disconnect between doctors and patients. Your list of considerations is fantastic. Hope your pain eases so you don't think of more things to add to that list.

Syrenka said...

I have been reading alot recently about the patients need to manage their care and ask questions. GOne are the days where we blindly follow the doc's advise! And always have your questions prepared and written down so you don't forget them or get sidetracked once you get a moment of the doc's time! We all need to be our patient advocate now.

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