Help Haven Guide: Tuesday Article – January 23rd, 2018
The overwhelming job of managing a household full of medical problems is rough. Days melt together, weeks merge and before you realize it another year has passed. I get frustrated every day seemingly when trying to coordinate all the medical appointment calls, follow-up lab reports, callbacks to confirm other appointments, sneak in how to discuss a new medication with the pharmacist and then arrange the time for in-home therapy team to do sessions with one child or the other. That is all before 12 noon and the second round of oral medications that need administering. The afternoon line up being twice as busy. A disabled home is very, very busy. So any help I can do for myself is something I try to make a priority. One of the simplest is also one most easily missed. Trusting my gut. From gut checking to gut trusting, my gut guides me on my journey to manage my medically fragile, disabled home.
When it comes to medical health, we have all heard how important it is to keep our GI system healthy. Whether it’s drinking enough water, intaking enough fiber or including strong pro-biotics daily. The stress of what goes in and comes out is important. As much as it pains me, the older I get, the more respect I have for the mystical powers of the “poo”. Having said that, the completion of my transformation into an old lady has been successful.
There are the GI guts, and the emotional guts and both need to be in excellent health. In younger years, I can remember so many occasions I did not trust my gut. Age certainly affords us some courage, but the experience is the better teacher. We learn from our past decisions how accurate our instinctual “guts” are and I wish I had not second guessed myself.
During my years in Healthcare, during public safety training, officers made a point to tune into what our instincts tell us. If you are walking to your car late after work and feel suddenly uneasy and at risk, pay attention and respond right away. Police Officers say it with such ease because those feelings have kept them alive and we benefit from their experiences.
Much is the same when it comes to interacting with people. When I am making a split decision on whether a specific Dr is a safe provider for my child, I need my gut to agree. If those alarm bells go off, taking a moment to pause is really important. I have the experience now to say, not listening proved to provide very painful lessons and dangerous ones as well. I add to that knowledge, my professional experience in tracking behavior profiles of physicians and knowing certain patterns are huge red flags of danger. I do not regard if that person has been a friend, well respected by others, or nationally awarded. If my gut says run like hell, I do! Most of the time. When I haven’t, its hurt.
Case and point. Over the last 10months, a long time provider of my boys has been a huge concern. Ongoing clinical decisions that didn’t sit well with me, did not add up and came into question by outside authorities watching my boys care coordination. Due to a friendship with this provider, I held off on pulling away, hoping to close things out in a tidy manner. Every part of me yelled to get out, this is dangerous. In a very rare, out-of-character leniency, I trusted that our agreement was to complete a treatment and we would go elsewhere. But a few days later was stunned to find out we would be forcefully discharged simply because I questioned professional behavior. And the facts supported my concerns and a fellow of hers feels some misdiagnosis has caused harm. I actually laughed, because it takes a lot to one over me. Only a friend could ever pull that type of act and allow pride to swallow their once well-defined decency. Lesson learned, and I won’t repeat that mistake. Listen physicians have the right to do whatever they want. It doesn’t mean it will be the right thing. Corporate medicine is no place for friends. I forgot that for a minute, oops. Sadly, her behavior is nothing new, and that response pattern common among physicians and practices not willing to be subject to oversight or wanting to be accountable for errors. It’s unfortunate they missed an opportunity to fix a failing in the practice and build upon a solid operational structure. That will be a lesson someone else will teach them and likely at a much higher rate than my professional fees would have been to assist and guide them.
But this behavior also proved my point as well. Physicians will get rid of you if you are about to make them look bad. But more so, my children’s medical care was at risk and trusting my gut was right. I just didn’t respond swiftly enough. Extending forgiveness in the form of leniency was unwise in this circumstance. The end result was no different. The plan was to leave to safer more clear verifiable clinical decisions, and that has been done. The how may have gone different, but the what remains unchanged. That example is simply a fresh one. However, there have been many situations over the years in seeking and receiving medical care, turning to my gut has provided important.
I went to an orthopedic doctor for my knees 2 years ago. When I went to the consult he was 2 hours late. I was already far into my decision process by then and knew it was unlikely I would be back a second time. But since great effort went into the scheduling and authorizations, I stayed until he saw me. Nothing exciting or noteworthy happened. But I got this gut sense, poor handling of any surgery would happen. From the manner phone calls were handled at the check-in desk, to the stressed-out behavior of the attending nurse, to the lack of eye contact from Dr, my gut screamed, do not let this man operate on your knees. 2 years later, I am grateful to have listened to my gut and cringe at the horror stories of post-surgical complications other patients suffered. The new surgeon I selected was repeating some surgeries of patients who did not walk away like I did and were paying the price by way of 2nd surgeries and a 2nd round of financial loss. My gut kept me safe and my bank account a bit less empty.
I could give you 2 dozen more examples. My main point is. If you call a new doctors office and you get rude treatment on the phone, nurse responds indifferently when interacting, and the Drs gives you the vibe your nothing more than a number. Slow down and consider if you are in the right place. Sometimes we hang up and have this knot inside and dread having to call back. Those are gut signals and responding to those is always right. Where it gets complicated is if your insurance greatly restricts your choices or if the available selection of providers in your area is limited. If stuck in that hard spot, I have a few tricks up my sleeves too. Have you ever told a physician they are acting like an ass, and then still end up receiving great care? I have, and it took finesse but worked. But I really would prefer not have to go through the stress of force fitting a match because I have to. Sadly, when you are really sick, this will happen at a point, maybe several times and it sucks. So have a plan,
Medically fragile people count on their caretakers to be proactive with their health. As a disabled mother myself, I am not looking to create extra work for myself. I am already overwhelmed with the workload. The last thing I want to do is the medical office’s work because they are so disorganized. Don’t over analyze your gut. Go with it and you will be grateful you did. I am also grateful so many marvelous physicians and physician practice are out there. I have had some phenomenal doctors take care of my children and who exhibit extraordinary humility. Something that sounds like an oxymoron. A humble doctor is not as rare as one might think. Its just their patient loads are gigantic so it may be a waiting list transition to get to them.
In the end, our goal to get great care from a group of providers who respect me and my family is the most important thing. When that comes in the form of a compassionate, open physician and physician practice it’s awesome. I try to feel out who is the practice manager, because if that individual is rude and indifferent, typically problems occur. But a great doctor who has great interactions with your family will be someone your gut likes. And a happy gut is a healthier happy life.
Author-Pamela Juers info@AngelsofOurOctober.com