What to ask your doctor?

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I'm getting my annual physical this week. According to a recent story on NBC Nightly News, (now, don't get me started on whethe we can trust the media on this one. . . that's ANOTHER thread--or several. . .) we each have 20 seconds to communicate what's most important to us to our physician after he/she enters the room. After he/she--starts with the questions, and the stethoscope thingie, etc. As a lot of us know--many docs these days are in a hurry.

I've already spoken with my daughter's pediatrician about Y2K and he's agreed to write prescriptions for her (primarily a long-shelf life antibiotic) prior to year's end. Now--here's a doctor who's VERY interested in Y2K. He has five kids of his own.

I have no clue about the one I'm about to visit.

So. . .let's say you're a GI and you're in the same boat.

What do you say or ask during those first 20 seconds (especially since psychological referrals may result, depending upon the degree of the MD's awareness, concern, etc.)

Start your stop watches! Can't wait to hear your answers. (You ARE going to visit your OWN physician--or related health care provider-- before year's end, YES?)


-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 14, 1999


Oh, I forgot to remind everyone about Senator Christopher Dodd's recent revelation (during the recent Senate report press conference) that approximately 80% of the ingredients in our prescriptions come from overseas.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 14, 1999.

1. First a statement to the doc. "I am terribly worried that my insurance company and pharmacy may both have trouble with computer records, payments and supplies during December andthe first part of next year."

2. Then a question to the doc. " After your exam, if you find anything that needs testing or medical follow-up, let's schedule it soon so I can feel better about this".

3. Another question to the doc. "Would you write me enough prescriptions to get me thru until next June or July for whatever you think I need?" Remember, most docs will NOT write excessive prescriptions for pain meds (jepordizes their DEA number if some pharmacist doesn't like them and calls DEA). If you have a recurrent problem like sinus infections or yeast problems that are not in evidence right now, ask him for a script to cover these.

Remember, most pharmacies will not fill a written prescription that is over 6 months old (and some insist on the last 3 months).

You will get far more out of the doctor if you are upfront and quick to state what you want. Just don't put him in a corner and they usually will help.

-- Lobo (Hiding@woods.com), March 14, 1999.

Well Cheers to you! We are toast, this is not new news. If you have a health problem it's all over for you. Doesn't matter if you're a GI or DGI everyone is in the same boat! Let's call it the "cleansing of the gene pool." Our gene pool is all screwy anyway with cancer genes, MS genes, diabetes genes, breast cancer genes, prostrate cancer genes, it's the genes that need cleansing and what better way to do it but through the "perfect surivialist gene pool." Haven't you heard the latest that a couple is willing to pay $100,000 for an egg from a female college coed whose IQ is at genius, family history health is perfect, must be a student from one of the top 10 universities, and photogenic beautiful? Anyway, what I would ask the doctor after giving him the total whole picture and talking 100 mph and what is my prognosis for living beyond Y2K, he may spend the afteroon with me.

-- AdiosAmeigos (AdiosAmeigos@bye.com), March 14, 1999.

An urgent suggestion for all.

Take prescriptions to at least three pharmacies and ask them to show you the expiry date on their bulk bottle.

Do not just ask them what is the expiry. Ask them to show it to you on their supply bottle. See it with your own eyes.

Pharmacists order their supplies and fill subscriptions at various rates and do not like the loss of throwing out the stale stuff.

You need long shelf life. Verify before you purchase. Buy the latest date. Most medications are still somewhat useful for a while thereafter in a pinch.

In respect to life or death predicaments, buyer be doubly aware!

All best wishes,

-- Watchful (seethesea@msn.com), March 14, 1999.


I believe the world as we know it is going to end on January first. Despite the experts and the facts pointing in another direction, I still Believe. Aside from a lobotomy, what can you do for me?

-- Smart Guy (#@??????????.com), March 14, 1999.

Can do nothing for you Smart Guy...weeeeez toast!

-- Adios (AdiosAmeigos@bye.com), March 14, 1999.

I did just this last week with my long-time family physician. He agreed to write the scrips for my thyroid, husband's high blood pressure meds, etc. but wants to wait for the fall. I worry that there will be a shortage by then, but do not want to argue with him.

Which is better, push for sooner, or go with a later expiration date?

-- housemouse (jgj@nevermind.net), March 15, 1999.

Get your prescriptions now and freeze them. Remember the old chemist's rule of thumb: the rate of most chemical reactions drops by a factor or 2 for every 10 C drop in temperature. Many meds are light sensitive. Any solid pill will keep much longer in the dark freezer. No chemical compound itself is harmed by freezing.

-- Les Holladay (holladayl@aol.com), March 15, 1999.

That's all well and good, but what do you do when your doctor refuses to give you copies of your medical records because she believes that Y2K won't be bad?

-- Flagirl (Filterlady@aol.com), March 15, 1999.

You have a right to your medical records and tell the doctor you will sue her/him to get them!

-- beenthere (beenthere@beenthere.com), March 15, 1999.

You have the right to get any and all medical records. Period. Those records are yours. All of them.


-- Bobbi (bobbia@slic.com), March 15, 1999.

Flagirl, doctors don't like to give medical records to patients, even though they belong to us and we have the rights to them, because many times it causes a lot of misunderstandings and confusions on the part of the patient, who aren't trained to interpret medical records.

If you have a good relationship with your doctor and trust him/her (which you should, otherwise you shouldn't be seeing him/her), I suggest you tell him why you want the records (I assume it's to have backup copies?).

If you're not a medical doctor, your own medical records should be read only in the presence of one, or at least an RN. Many things can look scary or upsetting to lay people, when in fact they're not.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), March 15, 1999.

Thanks for all the good answers. Now. . . assuming the doc is a DGI, and you're a GI, do you suggest showing him/her the Red Cross recommendations as a way to gain cooperation? Or--something else entirely. (Assuming weeez not burnt toast. . .)

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 15, 1999.

I don't know why I always notice those script pads sitting around.

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), March 15, 1999.

FM, I have had a kidney transplant since 3/18/82. When I approached my transplant physicians about y2k this past January, they felt I was paraniod and decided I needed to see a pyschiatrist! One big mistake I made: I didn't have a list of written qustions with me, which I would have obviously have thought of ahead of time. I asked questions off the top of my head. So, when I had my annual breast exam and Pap smear last week at my *local* rural hospital, I asked my GP some questions I had written down. To my amazement, she was very helpful in obtaining a years worth of perscriptions, was very knowledgeable about the status of HCFA, told me that the hospital had replaced *all* non-compliant equipment by February 1, and that the equipment was being independently tested for true compliance so it would work come 01/01/2000. She pointed out that our rural hospital has had generators for years (I live in MN) because we have always had the threat of snowstorms that knock out power. Needless to say, she was well aware of the problem. I do *not* care for the idea that y2k is a way to *cleanse the gene pool*. What a repugnant idea! Let me tell you something; My transplant has enabled me to be a fully functioning human being. It has enabled me to be able to work full-time plus, have a daughter, enjoy a marraige of nearly 21 years, and contribute positively to society. *I want to live* period. So I am currently buying enough perscriptions to last 2 years; and yes, I will be able to get the perscriptions necessary from my doctor. I intend to live to be in my 90's God willing, and I am 41 yrs old now. My kidneys failed due to a genetic condition I was born with, but it does not mean that my life is an automatic washout due to y2k. If the conditions in this country are so bad in 2 years that I die due to a lack of meds, well then I will at least have seen my daughter turn 16. By the way, I have not returned to my specialists since January; in fact I am looking for another clinic where the awareness level is higher, certainly higher than when the nurses over there asked me "What computer problem?" And this is a big city hospital, over 300 beds, the ones who are supposed to have a handle on this problem more so than the rural ones. I have a theory about this; maybe the bureacracy levels are so high in the city hospitals as compared to rural hospitals that the rural hospitals, despite limited funds are able to move more quickly on the problems. When you talk with doctors: Have a list of written questions Keep your composure Know some facts about y2k and how it relates to health care Be persistent Change doctors if you have to Watch those expiration dates Check your drug insurance policy re: how often you can refill. We carry Paid Perscriptions; those with a chronic condition can get a special refills.

Hope this helps you! Luann flataufm@hutchtel.net

-- luannf (flataufm@hutchtel.net), March 15, 1999.

For all of you who posted helpful answers, my doctor's visit is now behind me, and here's what happened--relevant to Y2K.

First off, this is a highly respected doc in my town. When I brought up Y2K, she said her husband owns an international computer company that sets up systems within companies (didn't have time to get more specifics than that) and he didn't think it was going to be a big deal. She has had patients ask her questions about Y2K and I think her response was the same to them. However, I did leave with her a copy of the Senate report section on health care, so perhaps that will influence her in some way. Also--she briefly mentioned she was more concerned about things that will affect our homes, which leads me to believe she's not totally a DGI. I may mail her a copy of the Red Cross guidelines.

FYI, I got a tetanus shot (recommended for all you gardeners), woke up this morning at 4 a.m. with body aches. No big deal, but if you're due for your booster, have that ibuprofin on hand!

Thanks again for your input. Now I need to work on my husband's doctor, since I know HE won't!

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), March 20, 1999.

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