Hey Doc? What’d Ya Say?

Even an expert patient like me forgets stuff.  Yup, it’s true.  Sorry to disappoint you.

I don’t know about you, but generally, when I go to the doctor, I’m not at my best. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be there.

You see, on bad days things change for me from one minute to the next.  And by “things” I mean my ability to be able to comprehend what I’m reading, what I’m writing ( 😦 ), and especially what I’m hearing.  When I feel awful, I can’t focus on what you’re saying.  And I’m certainly not going to remember it.  I’m not going to write it down, and if I did, I am not going to be able to read what I wrote.  So naturally, I’m not going to do what I just paid half a month’s salary to have a doctor tell me to do.

Most days I am a highly functioning individual.  Smarter than the average bear.  On other days, I’m not.  On those bad days, the bear turns into a sloth and I become a blithering idiot.  Usually diarrhea is involved, and I must say that I often feel like I flush a lot of brain mater.  Luckily, it recycles, but the image is pretty yucky.

Sadly, I’m not the only one.

Sick people as a general rule, sick people are not smart people because they’re sick, feverish, nauseated, dehydrated, cancerous.  People in pain are not smart people.  When you hurt, when you’re weak, when you can no longer lift your head because of the pain, well, it’s hard to listen.

Naturally, that’s when it is most important.

Because that’s when you go to the doctor, when you go to the ER, when you learn what you need to do to feel better.   But you’re sick so you never remember what you’re supposed to do.  Or in what order to do it.  Or for how long to do it.  Or if it goes inside or outside that orifice…

So when I read this article earlier today in the New York Times, I thought — what a great idea!  Record the instructions!

Now why didn’t I think of that?

We all have electronic devices with us at all time.  Use the damn things!  If instructions are recorded,  you can replay the instructions when you forget what you’re supposed to do,  and it’s just like you’re back there in the doctor’s office.  You have a better chance of doing it right.  Just as if you had a personal doctor or nurse right there reminding you just what to do and how to do it.

Some doctors don’t like the idea.  They worry (not unreasonably) about malpractice.  But frankly, compliance with doctor’s instructions is a big problem in patient care.  And this seems to me an excellent recipe for making sure you do what the doctor tells you to do.

Now if I can just figure out how to use the audio on my phone ….



Filed under 2017, ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Advice from an Expert Patient, Chronic Disease, Curses!, Health, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, Huh?

40 responses to “Hey Doc? What’d Ya Say?

  1. I have a little recording app on my phone that is easy. I use it for all kinds of stuff.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sloth with diarrhea is quite the image. Of course I thought of you when I saw this local story. http://tinyurl.com/y8ecqjxw

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great idea! Also, if possible, always bring somebody else along so you can compare notes afterwards – “This is what I heard – is this what YOU thought she said?”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Beautiful idea. Yes. Record the instructions. My doc always provides a treatment plan on paper at the end of every visit. Very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Elyse, here’s that poem with the Shittens in it. Posted today, enjoy. https://justjoan42.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/plunged-into-a-nightmare/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My doctor typically gives me a printed sheet with instructions on it. Of course, I’ve never been given anything really complicated to do by a doctor, so I don’t read it and can remember what I’m supposed to do. Doesn’t mean I do it, but I remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I was going through my cancer treatments I always carried a little recorder around with me. “Chemo Brain” is a real thing and I never would have gotten anything right without that recorder.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My iPhone has an app called “Voice Memos” that seems like it might work to record the doctor’s instructions. However, I’m guessing that this wouldn’t be efficient and would make us both uncomfortable. Also, normal conversation with asides and pauses, such recordings would be tedious to listen to and probably not foolproof, I think. Written is better, IMO.

    For quite some time now we have gotten printouts of our visits automatically, from both our independent doctor and the hospital. I believe this is mandated, or at least encouraged, by the much-maligned ObamaCare (ACA). It lists not only directions but all prescriptions, old and new. With the right software, this is not hard to do.

    Also, I find it very helpful to enter instructions in my calendar app. For example, I’m due to have a basal cell carcinoma excised next week, so I entered when I have to stop taking my usual small aspirin blood thinner (7 days ahead of surgery) and when to wash the affected area with special antiseptic (daily, 4 days ahead). For medicines, I use the little plastic travel pill boxes with boxes labeled for 2 weeks at a time – works great.

    Glad you’re doing OK, Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought I’d answered this comment, days ago. Sorry!

      I actually agree that written is better. I’m less auditory than many others. But my mother in law, who refuses to let anybody go tot he doctor with her, should use something very helpful.

      Hope the extraction went OK.

      And thanks. I’m OK. But it’s always easier to point to myself when writing about this stuff!


  9. I work in a GP surgery and take calls often from pt’s who start with “I’ve just seen the Dr and . . .”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Indeed, people who are ill or frail are not at their best and able to make the best decisions. I actually thought you were going in a different direction with the post, because *some people* think we should be careful shoppers/consumers of health care, and always comparison shop or check to make sure that the doc about to do a procedure (at our insurance-approved hospital) is also insurance-approved. Also of course, elderly people are expected each year to make new, informed choices for their Medicare plans and supplemental insurance. I think that is too much to expect. So — I thought you were going there. 🙂 Thanks for the tip. I agree, recording and/or having a helper with you is a great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I live in terror of having to figure out Medicare! What a nightmare.

      And *some people* who think that healthcare is just like buying cars are total idiots IMHO. OK, probably not so humble. But first, you’re sick; second you need to have a relationship with your providers based on your history; third you need to go to a particular hospital where your doctors have access; fourth *some people* are morons. And they are always healthy morons.

      But having a recording or a list or a set of instructions is really important!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great topic and I think recording the instructions is a good idea. Or having the doctor type them into the visit summary. I always did that with my patients. Another option is to bring someone with you so they can write everything down. That’s why I make so many trips to New Hampshire to help my mom. All those doctor visits get overwhelming for her!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I actually prefer the written version, although I have never tried to record it. The important thing is to have it so you can refer to it when you need to.

      Your mom is so lucky that you can be there with her! What a great daughter. And it does become overwhelming. Having someone with you who can help, think of symptoms and questions is huge. My husband often comes with me when the issue is new or I’m not doing well. He is very helpful. I’m also lucky in that I work with doctors and pharmacists who can help me as well (although I usually pump them for questions in advance).

      But so many people are there alone, and I think that this is a good suggestion that I’d never thought of!


  12. Dear Elyse, I hope that you are by now feeling better. Stay strong. we llve your posts. I know or at least I think I know, that you have an auto immune disease and it is a shitty one, so to speak, It can make one grumpy, miserable, un-hearing and vulnerable. Sp? At any rate I know that my daughter who also gets very ill at times hears some things and then gets confused about what the MD told her. I for one, recently did the same and got my instructions mixed up and did not stop taking the blood thinner in time to have glaucoma surgery. Cataract was done but not the most important one.

    Anyhoo, I love your idea of recording. I don’t know how to use mine either but I plan to march back to Verizon and have the young, former highschool English teacher now a techie at Verizon, teach me how to use the dang thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pets,
      I’m actually doing OK these days. I had some real cognition problems 8-9 years ago, but they still scare me a bit. Not that I was ever in particular danger, but it is a frightening feeling when you suddenly can’t figure stuff out. I had an abscess and it was taken care of.

      But whenever anybody gets the flu, or anything, it’s harder to concentrate, and harder to follow instructions. So this is really a good idea.

      Sorry about your surgery though. That’s really unfortunate — and so very easy to do. And you don’t want to mess around with blood thinners and surgery! I hope that you have been able to reschedule and get it done!

      Liked by 1 person

      • So glad you are doing better. I think you are correct about infection somewhere in the body and how it affects the brain. It does get frightening and it can be a huge concern. I’ve been there and done that too.

        I’ll be seeing an eye/glaucoma specialist at Scott and White Hospital which is about 60 miles closer to where I live.The eye thing prevents one from driving if the eyes are dilated and/or after surgery so I must enlist the help of friends,, I hate having to do that but at least Temple, TX is not so bad and I feel it is less of an imposition but I pay my friends very well, anyhow for driving me.


  13. Sounds like a good idea. I just wouldn’t want my wife to see or hear the recording. She loves to play nurse and pressure me to do what the doctor orders, and I’m not always that eager to comply. So what she doesn’t know won’t hurt me.

    Those bad days must really be bummers. Maybe even a little scary, as in career jeopardizing or something. I can understand why you would want to rely upon electronic aids, or anything else, to help you through those times when you just can’t think clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I would probably be on your wife’s side on this one, Tippy. I can’t understand why people go to a doctor and then ignore their advice. I will argue with mine about the treatment, but ultimately if they convince me I will follow it. Maybe you need different doctors?

      I don’t have too many times when I have the more serious cognitive issues — that was several years ago. I hope it doesn’t happen again because it was really scary. I did actually screw up a project I was working on — I was supposed to file a document with the government, got half way through the process and then thought I was done. I wasn’t. Oops.

      But I like the idea of having a real record of these visits. Because they seem to go so fast, that sometimes I forget the answer to my questions, etc. All in all a good idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Excellent advise, Elise.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have conference calls during office visits. I have patients send photos of their rashes in the portal system to save them an office visit. I would not mind a patient recording my visit. There was a time when I was not as confident that recordings would bother me, but if you are doing right by the patient, a recording should not be a bad thing. My only concern would be those recordings being posted publicly. Treatment for one patient is not always the same for someone else so I would not want a non-patient to listen to a recording of a treatment plan and apply it to themselves without consulting someone specifically for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wish you were one of my doctors!

      It makes soooo much sense from both sides. because compliance is key! It never occurred to me though. When I’m sick and stupid, I have my husband come!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Having your husband come is almost as good! Also, we can write some pretty detailed discharge instructions that print for patients at the end of the visit and that also transmits to the patient portal so patients can access that electronically.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The good part of having my husband come is that he then “gets” it!

          I actually prefer the written instructions, but I thought that there might be other people who would like it this way. I’ll be talking to my mother-in-law about doing this (she won’t let anybody go to her doctors appointments which I think is a real problem for someone who is 91!)

          Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s a great idea. I am usually a healthy person, but I know when I have an issue and see the doctor, I am often overwhelmned and have a difficult time process the info. Invariably, the doctor will say, “Do you have any questions?” And I can’t think of a single one. Then I get home and have a hundred questions. I often need to call the doctor again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I know what you mean. I hate that! And my husband always comes up with another dozen that I forgot to ask as well.

      But I take a list with me (on my phone) which helps a lot.


  17. I agree. We should embrace technology. I even think pharmacist who counsel patients on prescription medications should have their instruction recorded in an audio file. If patient consents, it can be sent to an email or phone number. This is even more important for patients with language barrier. Also how many times that patient has had a scary encounter – full body rash, seizure, stroke symptoms only to show up at doctor office all resolved. If they can just capture the episode on a video then everyone can see what has happened. I am sorry you had a bad experience at the doctor office. I hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 3 people

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