We’re still working on medical themes here because nearly everyone will eventually have an issue that will land them in the doctor’s office or in the hospital. Nobody wants to think about it, but anyone who ever ends up there will be very happy for the preparation before an illness or accident hits you.
I would recommend that you keep a checklist of all the medicines and supplements you take daily, weekly, etc. Also keep track of your blood pressure, weight, and other aspects of your health if they would be vital for the doctor or nurse to note. A doctor worth seeing is a doctor who will check that med list and ensure there are no interactions between any of those ingredients or any of the additional meds you might receive, and will be interested to know if your blood pressure has risen or dropped. This will pertain not only to your family doctor or specialist, but the hospitalist or other personnel if you end up in the hospital.
Always keep a notebook with you–possibly in a purse, man-purse (murse) or close to the door in case of emergency so you can grab it as you go out the door. If you suddenly end up in the hospital without warning and don’t have pad and pen, have a friend, enemy, next-door-neighbor or anyone you can grab from the hallway bring you something for making notes. It is estimated that seven out of ten hospital bills have some kind of mistake on them, often to the detriment of the patient. So keep tabs on how many pills you’ve received, make sure you know what those pills are for, and make sure your hospital physician, nurse or tech communicates with you. When you’re back home and looking at the hospital bill, compare it to the notes you’ve taken. If there are discrepancies, call them to the attention of the billing department.
It doesn’t hurt for hospital personnel to know you’re keeping notes. If they’re worth their titles, they will actually be glad you’re sharp enough to keep track, because they’re overworked and it helps to have someone backing them up.
Make sure the hospital where you’re cared for is one that accepts the insurance that covers you. I have friends who were sent to outpatient sections of a hospital and weren’t covered by insurance. Now they’re paying out of pocket for something they thought would be paid otherwise.
Hospital stays typically cost in excess of 4,000.00 a day, depending on what part of the country you reside, so get well quickly. I realize that’s easier said than done, but one way you can save money is by moving when you’re told to walk up and down the hallway. Don’t overdo it, but these days doctors have discovered that lying in bed doesn’t help you heal. Get moving, get the blood carrying poisons out of your body more quickly. Drink more fluids if possible. Make sure the foods you’re being fed are free of any food allergens you might have. Often the doctors and nurses might not communicate with the food services staff, and that can have a direct impact on your health, including interactions with the meds you’re taking
Before you leave the hospital, BE SURE to get copies of every x-ray, test result, doctor comment, release form and medical chart you can get. Everything pertaining to your case is something you have a right to have. This way your family doc can see the paperwork and know how to follow up. Otherwise, your doctor might never see your hospital chart. Don’t assume that just because your doctor and your hospital are in the same insurance loop that they will communicate. We have this problem all the time. It’s even worse if they aren’t in the same system. Never assume your doctor will see the vital information about your health if it’s discovered by any other doctor or hospital. Patients are constantly being dropped through the cracks. Don’t be one of those patients. It’s your responsibility to ensure your doctor knows about every test result you’ve received.
The February issue of Reader’s Digest magazine has an interesting and frightfully honest article about 50 things your hospital won’t tell you–although I’m not sure about that last part. Some of those things are truths anyone who works in a hospital would want you to know. I highly recommend that you read that article, because it reminded me of many things I wish I could tell every patient who comes through our clinic doors. I read several of the paragraphs to Mel, and we both just shook our heads, because these are things we’ve been complaining about for years.
I repeat, take control of your own healthcare. If you’re too sick to keep track of everything being done to you in the hospital, keep a friend or family member with you. If you’re very sick, see if you can keep someone there to care for you overnight. Some hospital staffs are spread so thin that it takes far too long for a nurse to get to you if you need something.
As I’ve said before, no doctor is God. They’re all humans, even the best of them, and as humans they make mistakes. This could affect your health in so many different ways. Make it your responsibility to ensure you receive the best medical care possible.