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Mayo Clinic Trip Three, Part 1 – Big Changes

After all the appointments I had back in January 2011, and the subsequent bills, we knew it’d be best to get my next round of annual appointments in the same year… so as to minimize expenditures by making the most of having met our deductible so early in the year. So, when the beginning of October rolled around, I called Dr. GH’s secretary to schedule an appointment… just as I’d been instructed.

Imagine my surprise when, after explaining why I was calling, I was told, “[Dr. GH] is no longer with Mayo Clinic.  We are working to identify who will fill his role, and will contact you when we do.”

Oh.  Right.  Okay.

Wait.  What?

He’s gone?

No more hairy chests and bizarre questions?  No more medical explanations involving YouTube and unexpected analogies?

And then, of course, I began to wonder about things that actually mattered.

What if they don’t get me a new doctor in time?  What if my new doctor wants to change my regimen?  What if Dr. GH had it wrong all-along?

Luckily I didn’t have long to wonder, as I received a call within 48 hours informing me I had an appointment.  So, after a few tweaks to the date and time of my appointment, I began my list.  The list of questions I want to be sure to ask my cardiologist.

Kate's List of Questions for Mayo

I suppose it isn’t actually a list of questions… it’s more like a collection of various notes I’ve made for myself over the year since I last saw my Mayo doctors.  Some bullets are significant, and some border on silly, but they all matter to me.  I get the undivided attention of doctors at the top of their field just once a year.  It would be unwise not to ask questions and make the most of this tremendous opportunity.

After wrapping up my list (for the time being, since I add items frequently and up until the doctor walks in the exam room), I moved on to establishing my neurology itinerary for late-December 2011, which proved to be a challenge impossible due to Dr. A-Z’s complicated holiday vacation schedule and overwhelming popularity.

I will spare you the details, but I can say… from the time I called to schedule this trip these trips to Mayo Clinic AZ, I knew things would be different.

More on just how different it’s been later this week.

Until then… How do you prepare to head to a doctor’s appointment (big or small)?  Do you write lists?  Take a friend?  Remember to bring your medicines?  What’s the best advice you’ve received?


4 Responses

  • Stacy on January 5, 2012, 09:14:51

    I make a list. I start and top of my body-head & go thru every body part & list any problem that I’m having. For ex head-headaches, dizziness. Neck-pain. Hands-numbness. It’s worked well for me.

    Reply to Stacy
  • Carol Wong on January 6, 2012, 05:19:50

    I have a variety of problems, including fibromyalgia, sarcoidosis MGUS (a precancer) and others so I see five different specialists on a regular basis. The way I prepare for any appointment is by writing down my questions and starring the most important. I have had many different reactions to those questions. Disbelief that someone would be asking, straight answers (my favorite)and sneers! I have to steel myself for the responses sometimes. But those questions must be asked.

    I take my husband for moral support each time. Problem is that he often doesn’t understand enough English to know what we are talking about. If I could find a friend to go with me that would be better.

    I don’t take my medicines with me, that is too cumbersome.
    I made a spreadsheets of my medicines with name of the medicine, dosage when it is taken and the reason it is taken. All my doctors like that. I kept the file on my computer and update when I have a change in my medicines.

    Hope this helps.


    Reply to Carol
  • Tami Stackelhouse on January 8, 2012, 09:56:23

    No more Dr. GH?? I’m so sad! =(

    Like you, I make a list. Then I go back & note the items that are absolute, must address, can’t-leave-without-an-answer items. Sometimes, in a regular doctor appt, I don’t get to address EVERYTHING, so I mark the key items.

    I actually use Evernote, so my list is with me on my iPhone, and I start the list the day after my last appointment. Since I have it with me all the time, I’m adding to it continually, even while I’m waiting in the room, just like you.

    One of the things I’ve learned to do recently is to have a check-in with my hubby the night before my appointment. I go over my list with him and ask if there’s anything he’s noticed or wants to add. Sometimes he notices things about me that I don’t see. Like me complaining about things that sometimes don’t actually occur to me are problems. =) (Duh!)

    Reply to Tami
  • Micaela on January 26, 2012, 11:23:30

    Kate, this is random, but you mentioned stretching in one of your previous posts…. have you ever heard of Miranda Esmonde? She has a stretching series on PBS and sells dvds called the Esomnde Technique. I know that simply stretching isn’t going to make all of you pain go away but I have had a lot of success using them. When I get a strained muscle or a pinched nerve I got to her dvds and honestly after one segment, which is only 25 minutes long, I feel so much better. It’s something to look into if you actually want to follow a stretching dvd. If you just stretch on your own then you may not be interested. Just a thought. BTW, thank you for commenting on my blog. Comments make me happy 🙂

    Reply to Micaela