For a number of reasons, I am undergoing a lot more testing than I did when I was first diagnosed with COPD in 2011 - and I am not enjoying any of it! (lol)
Revolutionizing health care
I know...I know...I sound like a spoiled brat and I should be grateful that I’m able to keep up with where things stand with my lungs and the rest of me. It’s really incredible how technology has revolutionized health care. I saw a sonogram of my heart the other day – my heart! I could see its beats. I could see the pumping, pumping, pumping. I was able to watch as a health technician probed my abdomen for my aorta to see if it was doing the job it’s supposed to do.
Every ninety days I have: an EKG, a CAT scan, spirometry + DLCO with ABG, an Aorta duplex for AAA, echocardiogram, six-minute walk test.
I’m not even sure what some of them are or what they can find. But in any event, there’s a lot of prodding with electrical instruments, needles, positioning, re-positioning, poking, watching, instrument reading, reviewing, instrument insertion, instrument positioning, instrument re-positioning...and so on, and so on...
We become pincushions
We become pincushions. I may be showing my age by using that expression but for those who are unfamiliar, a pincushion is a small, stuffed cushion that seamstresses use to place needles upon while sewing. Trust me, I know it’s all for a good purpose and again, I appreciate how fortunate I am that I have good health insurance and some of the best doctors in the United States helping me. I’m grateful.
But - and I confirmed this with my COPD.net colleague, Barbara Moore – it can get painful after a while; especially when you’ve been at the hospital/facility where these tests are taking place since 8:00 in the morning and it’s now 4:30 in the afternoon. Again, the schedules are made for the convenience of the medical personnel, not the patient. But I don’t think I’ll see that change in my lifetime.
Doctors on a rotating basis
But the other pain-in-the-butt part of this is the reports that are generated. I’ll try to explain why. Right now, on a rotating basis, I see my pulmonologist, my nurse practitioner, a cardiologist, and an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist. I know I’m leaving like 12 people out but I can’t remember who they are right now.
That is when the fun begins
Sometimes, the testing I mentioned above all takes place in the same location, and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, that is when the fun begins:
- My pulmonologist would like a copy of my CAT scan.
- My nurse practitioner needs the results of my EKG-ASAP!
- My cardiologist needs that “damned Aorta duplex for AAA” yesterday!
- My primary care physician needs the test results from my ENT guy
Digital repository for test results
Faxes, fax phone numbers, phone calls, phone numbers. Send, fax, mail reports. I wish was a techie. The one and only thing I would like to design is a digital repository for test results. In other words, you have your X-ray or CAT Scan or EKG and the reports those tests generate are immediately filed in an online place where each health care person you deal with can call it up and review it at their leisure.
Who am I kidding?
You wouldn’t have to call back twice and try to find out why such and such a report was not sent when it was supposed to have been. One place – one repository. Life is simple. Who am I kidding?
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?