Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chapter 2: Building your Medical Team

Here is the deal - I need a support group of doctors, experts, and also loved ones to get back on track and stay there.  Let's start with the basic core medical team:

  • Internal Medicine - the doc you see for regular checkups, when you have some infection or other illness, the one who writes most if not all you prescriptions, and gets copied on stuff from the specialists.  I have a relatively new IM doc because my last one moved away/retired. Before that my endocrinologist was also my IM doc, but he cut that part out of his practice several years ago to focus on endo stuff.  My IM is quite young, sits in the exam room with a laptop taking notes rather than on a chart, and I think that I like her pretty well.  And she's on-board with this team approach. So I can check this position as filled.
  • Endocrinologist - if you have type 1 diabetes you need an endocrinologist to manage that specific complex part of your medical needs.  I've had the same guy for something like 25 years. I really like him as a person, but we need a divorce.  He's probably going to retire at some point anyway, he doesn't know my new IM doc, and he definitely does everything on paper in my file that is so thick that his staff get carpal tunnel carrying it around.  I have an appointment set up with a new Endocrinologist who is in the same practice as my IM.  I hope I like her.
  • OB/Gyn - if you are a girl, you need one of these to deal with all your girlie things.  I'm really happy with the one I have but as I'm getting older and facing peri-menopause it will be important to loop her up with my IM too.
  • Dentist - duh. We all need them.
Next level are the specialists who I hope I only need to see once in awhile:
  • Gastroenterologist - as you can see in my last post, I need one of these. I have an appointment set up with a guy down the hall from my IM and new Endo.  I hope I like him.
  • Diabetes Educator - I think if you have diabetes, you should spend some time with one of these people in addition to your endocrinologist.  In my experience they are more sensitive to the fact that diabetes is challenging and it's hard to be perfect all the time. I already have started going (again) to the Diabetes Ed center at Alta Bates. I love them there.  Mr. Wonderful calls them the "Diabetes Angels".  I was there yesterday and it's still true. But I'll save the specifics on that for another post.
  • Hand Specialist - this one I need to get soon. I've been working on it but I want a specific, fairly conservative approach to my Dupuytren's.  Anyway, this is critical to take care of ASAP.
  • Optometrist/Ophthalmologist - if you have type 1 diabetes, you need to be checked annually for any retinopathy. Plus I'm getting old and need my progressive lenses updated once in awhile.  I'm happy with the one I have.
  • Pulmonary specialist - just to check on my sarcoid once in awhile to make sure it isn't scarring up even more of my lung and bronchial passages. meh. I don't even remember who I saw last time, but my sarcoid appears to be inactive at the moment so we'll just leave that for the moment.
  • Dermatologist - I haven't been to one yet, but I'm fair skinned and spotty so should probably get a once over for any possible skin malignancies.  Maybe I can get something done about my spotty old face too (heh).
What about the non-medical people in your life?  I have great support from Mr. Wonderful and Teen Wonder, though when I am not well it puts a huge strain on the family eco-system.  The other day I lamented that Mr. Wonderful and Wild Thing were supposed to put up the Halloween decorations I'd dragged out of storage and bought from the Halloween store.  Teen Wonder remarked "I don't know why you're surprised. We can't do anything without you."  That's an over exaggeration (teens!) - but probably partly true.  My mom is great too - she'll fly down in a moment's notice if needed, and has more than once starting with when Teen Wonder was born 6.5 weeks early.

One of the instructions from my Diabetes Angel yesterday was to reconnect with my girlfriends. I have 2-3 really good ones but I haven't been keeping up with them and I need to fix that.

Anything I've forgotten for a critical team?  I'm sure I'll think of others...

1 comment:

  1. I think you should add a pharmacist to your medical team...
    When a person uses the same pharmacist for all of their prescriptions, they are more able to effectively monitor your drug therapy regimens. They look for interactions, duplication of therapy, and can help with compliance. Also, many community pharmacists have certified training in diabetes education and monitoring, and they are often accessible for immediate Rx issues.
    Love the blog, btw


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