We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 52.
Doctor, Doctor, What’s Ailing Me?
Tina F., Fairfax, #Virginia
In the USA, we have to have health insurance to receive medical care. (I won’t go into the broken healthcare system in this post). I have Kaiser Permanente as my health insurance company. Kaiser is an insurance and universal healthcare provider. Unfortunately, I still have to seek an integrative medicine doctor to receive the type of care I believe I need.
A few weeks after the pandemic was announced and the shutdown restrictions were put in place, my fantastic integrative medicine doctor telephoned me. She wanted to check in and make sure I was managing. She also let me know that my routine appointment, which was scheduled pre-corona, would not be an office visit, but rather a telehealth video visit.
A video appointment with doctors was not new to me. Kaiser has been ahead of the game with their technology. Members have online access to all our medical records, test results, and prescriptions. We can create and cancel our in-person or video appointments via the app. I never really cared too much for the video appointments because of the lack of personal interaction, but I have loved the efficiency of the online resources.
On the day of my appointment with my integrative doctor, I was a ready. Our appointments are usually frank discussions, so the video call was an easy transition. The fact that she is just the kindest doctor I’ve ever met helps. After a chat about my health and a review all my medications and supplements, we discuss any issues I have been struggling with.
I have a pain in my heel, I tell her. She asks a few questions, then asks me to show her exactly where I feel the pain. So I lift my iPad and bring it to my foot so I can point out the area. All the while thanking my lucky stars that my ailment was not a boil on my ass….
She gives me some recommendations and we conclude the appointment.
Throughout the pandemic, my Doctor has been communicating with us (her patients) via email with tips and recommendations on how to handle this crisis. She has also provided a free Zoom class every week, outlining resources and discussing nutritional, emotional, and physical data for building our Covid-19 resilience.
Although I am grateful for all the bells and whistles Kaiser provides, I am most grateful to the personal touch and care provided by my integrative medicine doctor. At the end of the day, it is comforting to know that my doctor is invested in my physical and emotional wellbeing.
Telemedicine and Medical Care
Norma B. Wallace, Bend, #Oregon
I should be writing this after Thursday of this week, when I will have my first telemedicine appointment.
Three weeks ago, I took a spill on my bike. I felt that I was okay. Not good, but okay. My elbow hurt a bit at the time, and by the next morning, it was dark purple and swollen. I should have put ice on it immediately. I did some range-of-motion tests and although it hurt, I could move the arm without pain. I didn’t go to the doctor as I knew that they were only taking patients who had urgent needs. I didn’t want to take any time away from someone who really needed a doctor’s care. I knew the first aid things to do. I waited until today to make an appointment. I was surprised that I can only get a telemedicine appointment or wait until June. I will have my appointment on Thursday. I’ll tell you afterwards if I did the right thing. Isn’t hindsight always 2020.
As far as medical care, two of my friends have had very urgent medical needs and were treated at the their local hospitals with the utmost care. One was in California and one was in North Carolina. Neither of the cases had anything to do with the virus. However, the effect of the virus on the way of admitting patients was the most difficult. I can’t imagine dropping off someone who is seriously ill at the door and not going in with them. One was taken care of and released the next day. It was very difficult for the family to not be there. In the other case, the person was in the hospital for over a month with no contact with family or friends. That was extremely difficult for her and the family. She will be discharged on Mother’s Day. The care was excellent in both cases; being apart was what was difficult.
A special gratitude goes out for all medical personnel who are risking their lives to take care of others. I know we have to be socially distancing, I am sure we will all be more careful in the future. However, the human touch is so important. I can’t wait to hug someone. I will wait until it is safe—we have to find a way to make it safe. We will. I am always hopeful.
House Calls Are Back
RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain
I hate going to the doctor. I mean, I’m the person who goes years without getting a checkup. I’ve been nagged and lectured about this by pretty much everyone around me, but the bottom line is, I can’t stand the wait at the office or the paperwork. I despise it when they take my vitals. And then the dreaded poking and prodding. And in the end, what happens? The doctor comes to a conclusion that I already knew: I’m fine. I could stand to lose 5 or 10 pounds, and since I have the mind of an anorexic and the willpower of a dog, maintaining my ideal weight can be a challenge. So exercise more, eat more vegetables, cut down on red meat. I’m told to make an appointment for next year. I agree, but don’t go back.
But telemedicine…now that is something I can get behind. IMO, this is one aspect of technology and innovation that really does simplify our lives. For one thing, there’s no commute!
The coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdowns have forced all industries to be more innovative, and the healthcare industry is a case in point. Today, we leverage technology not just out of convenience, but out of necessity. And while telemedicine is not new, I’m betting that A) it has gotten a lot more popular in the last 52 days, and B) it’s here to stay.
I like that if the doctor gets really busy with other patients, she can call me when she’s ready. It’s kind of like a house call – the doctor comes to ME. No more impatient foot-tapping in crowded waiting rooms full of sick people!
If I have symptoms, I can describe them on the phone. The only bedside manner I need is for the doctor to examine me on camera. And then BOOM, we’re done. She’ll give me the same cautions and warnings. But with telemedicine, when she says she’d like me to schedule another checkup in a year, I will say yes – and mean it.
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