Wednesday, May 5

What works for us Wednesday

It's been too long for a What Works for us Wednesday! 

Today I needed to take my oldest to the doctor as her throat continues to be sore even after a round of antibiotics for what they had thought was strep.  Blood work was done as well as another strep test and we will wait until tomorrow for the results.  Poor Hannah doesn't feel well! 

The doctor's office today reminded me of a few helpful hints for scheduling appointments and how to make a doctor's visit successful:

1.  If you find that a sibling also needs to be seen at the last minute, as I did today for Nate while Hannah was being seen, don't be shy about asking if  there is room in the schedule for a sibling to be seen also.  It worked out great for us that the clinic was slow and both of our oldest got seen at the same time!  Two for one is a good thing!

2.  Schedule appointments first thing in the morning or ask the receptionist when the doctor's first appt after lunch is, I find that docs are more likely to be on time early in the morning and after lunch. 

3.  Ask if an 'office visit' is necessary.  Recently Children's Sleep center called to schedule a follow up which would have meant another 3 hour round trip for a 20-30 min conversation.  They were happy to say  we could just talk on the phone about the results and our next steps.  They understood the drive was just too long plus a hassle.

4.  Take along a grandparent, spouse or a friend to a doctor's visit that you know you are going to need to actually listen and take notes.  My husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law all hear the doctors instructions differently than I do.  Just having someone else in the room to understand and ask questions clears up a lot of the anxiousness that could come later.  Ask if you can bring a small microphone tape just to be able to replay later, this is helpful on a swallow study because the results are complicated. 

5.  Request a copy of the chart, or a copy of notes, or have the doctor write notes for you.  Having a paper document is helpful.  The worse they can say is no.  And if they do, well, it might be a good time to think about who you really need on your team.  A doc that isn't afraid to put things in handwriting on a paper you find in the diaper bag is a doc that is WELL worth keeping.  Keep your 'care notebook' organized. Having doctors instructions and information in one place is so helpful.

6.  Ask doctors how they best communicate.  Go ahead.  You can do this.  Sometimes they give me their email and encourage small "in between visit" questions.  Occasionally I have heard faxes work well for some docs.  They want you to succeed.  They share the interest in providing your child with special healthcare needs the best care.

7.  Don't be late for an appointment.  The rest of the lobby full of waiting people doesn't like this.  Your children don't like being rushed thru an appointment either.  And let's face it, if you are late you are for a reason and perhaps you need to phone in and reschedule so you can attend to the issue that was causing you to be late in the first place. 

8.  Snacks and your own play items are a must when going to the doctor.  For longer appointments we bring a small dvd player for Tommy to watch repeated Finding Nemo.  Know what works for your child and bring that personal comfort for him. 

9.  Have questions prepared to ask your doctor.  Know that one of your questions might be "What is my next step from here" and "What are the questions I haven't asked" or "If he was your son, what else might you be thinking about".

10.  If you don't have health insurance, find it.  Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access does an amazing job finding prescription cards, medicaid, other forms of private insurance. 

And that is what works for your next visit to the doctor!  See you next Wednesday!

Tommy Adventures