Monday, July 04, 2005

How to handle doctors...

Current Meds:
1. Prednisone (12 tablets {60mg} in morning for 2 weeks then 4 tablets {20mg})
2. Citalopram 10mg once daily
3. Lorazepam 1mg at bedtime
4. Tylonol 1000mg

Current Symptoms
Physical: none
Sensory: Optic neuritis in left eye
Psychological (memory/mood): none
Medication side effect?: rapid/pounding pulse, migrane headache

Today is not a bad day. I didn't get much sleep but that didn't stop me from getting out and taking care of business. I hope I feel as good tomorrow. The last two nights have been very unforgiving--my head has hurt so much, I think from the meds and the new glasses, that I was almost in tears last night. I needed to take two extra strentgh tylonol and that didn't do a damn thing really. But the morning and the day have been good to me.

I talked with a friend today whose sister has MS and I learned some valuable information about managing doctors. As anyone who is newly diagnosed with MS will tell you, these days a doctor's favorite respite to any ailments of his patient that he can't get to the bottom of is "go see a shrink." Batteling it out with doctors is all part of the MS process. Hey, they can't fix you, nothing can, but there are things you need to consider in case of making your life worse than it has to be. When you are in tune with your body you know when something is wrong, you don't need a doctor to tell you. Here's how to avoid pesky trips to the hospital while trying to find out what is wrong with you:

Step one: the truth is, doctor's are people like everyone else, find a good one, and don't play doctor hopping. Find one that is good, this may take time, and build up a history with them. Above all things when looking... make sure he or she is human. Some doctors act more like machines than people and have a tendancy to treat you like one as well. Why? Because we come to them with problems and expect them to fix us or make us better. In the best of circumstances, they want to do just that for us. The result is quick diagnosis and an unresearched hypothesis that never pans out into further testing, and your going home with pills for Minear's disease for your "inner ear" infection that dosen't exist. Stay away from "pill" doctors. Get second opinions, third's, forth's... if necessary. Don't let them talk you into psychotherapy when they can't find anything physical, that's the last resort but it seems today a good number of doctor's use this as their first.

Step two: The best thing you can do if you think you have a chronic illness is chronical it. Document every little thing. Don't feel like your complaining. These little "complaints" could mean somthing significant to the doctor who puts the puzzle together. Keep detailed records of everything that happens to you: date, time, what was going on before it happend, how you are feeling before and during the incident, what made it feel better, what made it go away, etc... everything. When you go to see you doctor you can open your book and say "there, that's the last time that happened to me, 4:00pm monday, august 28, 1997." These detials seem trivial but are so important to an attentive doctor and they will appreicate the effort.

In the long term, records like that may also help control your disease. Knowing your limits, physically, emotionally, and psychologically will enable you to know when to stop, or walk away from the heated debate, take a break, seek solitude, etc, to help control your symptoms. Knowing your body is key, and a good note book is the best course of action.

This has been my hat-tip on journals! :) A very useful tool for helping you and your doctor arrive at proper treatments options that are in the best interest for you.


At 3:49 PM, Blogger dave said...

Hi doug,
You give sound advice to anybody with a chronic ailment. Sadly the "its all in your head" diagnosis, is a too easy route that some clinicians use. Your suggestion to keep a journal of symptoms' dates and times is excellent advice.
I want you to know that I am praying for you every day, and that what you are doing with this blog fills me with pride and admiration.
God bless you Doug!

At 8:32 AM, Blogger MOM said...

hey Doug
I hope tou don't havr too many more headaches. I know how they can reck plans. I have lived with them most of my life. I can't wait for you to get here There are sooooo many things to see and do. I went to a dinasaur mueseum yesterday it was awesome. Hoping you havr good days Im really proud of you , LOVE YOU MORE Mom


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