Friday, September 17, 2010

Note to Endo

I hate sending emails to doctors. It seems to easy too cross the line into being a really annoying patient via email. I find I am unsure of when it is or isn't appropriate to email a physician and only one has ever invited me to do so (the weight loss guy who decided I didn't have asthma right after I got out of the hospital ...for asthma). And I never quite know what to say or how to balance the business with the social niceties. (Hmmm, maybe this is a good question for Dr. D.)

Well, the endo emailed me via the hospital's interface about my blood work, but didn't actually follow through on some things we had discussed during our appointment.

I waited a few days to see if they responded to my fax or not and if they would comment on blood work that came in after their initial message.

Nothing.

So today I sent the following note...

"Thank you. Regarding the thyroid antibodies, we had discussed that the results would indicate if I would need to retest every year or every six months. What testing schedule would you like me to follow?

As for the hair loss, if the TSH is fine, do we assume it's related to the adrenals and will it come back as my adrenals finally get their act together?

Lastly, did you receive a fax I sent? If not, don't worry about looking for it. Simply put, I've had some scary issues with the adrenals. Not just fatigue but low blood pressure (90/50), the worst I've been since March. I am now trying alternate day dosing of 5mg with the idea of tapering down to 2.5mg, to see if a slower, alternate day taper is more effective at getting me back on my feet.

If you want me to handle this differently, please let me know.

Eventually, I will be calling for refills and I want to be sure you know what I've been doing over here.

Thanks for your help, I really appreciate your assistance with all this.

Regards,
POP"

So what do you think? Crossing the line? Professional? Did I do okay? I really don't want to piss off my prednisone supplier, you know?

I don't like having to chase people down either, but this seems to be the norm in medicine today. Zero follow-up. The only docs I have that do any follow-up are the dermatologist and the OB/Gyn who was almost hounding me to come back in for some additional testing that was botched earlier.

Ugh. Why can't this be easy?

7 comments:

  1. I think you're spot on with the email. I also think that it takes docs awhile to get used to doing things this way, and if your doc's practice is just getting started with all this connectivity stuff, they're adjusting, too. I'd call the doc's office on Monday and ask the nurse/recptionist to verify the doc's receipt of the email.

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  2. Your email is great; but good luck getting it answered. (please update if you do!)

    My husband sent an email to a specialist listing his medication history. The specialist sat down with us and the first thing he said was "I got your email, and I don't read email from patients", followed by, "so, tell me, what medications have you tried?".
    Sigh...

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  3. I was going to say "You have your doctor's EMAIL ADDRESS???"

    I'm deaf so if a doctor actually emailed I'd be thrilled. It would be nice to have written instructions for me to follow.

    FYI: Everytime I come here my anti-virus says "Malicious URL blocked" and I have to override it to get to your blog...

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  4. Thank you Kaplooey Mom--you are always supportive. :)

    Penelope--I HATE that. I gave the endo's office a list of meds and they ignored it and I made a stink about it, but they ignored it anyway. This last visit they wanted to know what meds I was on and I just rolled my eyes and ignored them.

    Have Myelin--this is a Blogger site, I don't own the domain so I hope nothing bad is happening. If it continues, let me know and I'll see if Blogger has anything to say about it.

    Some docs do email now, some could but tell me not to. It's really a mixed bag and I think it depends on how much technology the hospital system they are in uses.

    M

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  5. I think your email back was perfect. Polite, and specific with what answers you need without getting too bogged down. Sad to hear the fax didn't work; that's the thing that works best for me with my rheumy, but he doesn't offer an email/web system. With the fax, at least I feel confident that it will make it into my chart, even if I don't get the response I need ... although I guess that's a leap of faith on my part too that it won't just get thrown into the recycling!

    The only docs here who email (that I'm aware of) are either with Kaiser (an HMO that pays them to respond to emails unlike most insurers) or at the local medical school.

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  6. Yes, I've got Kaiser, and the fact that most of my docs do use email has saved me a LOT of frustration.... because I've not needed to call them, or be physically present in the office a ton. HOWEVER, I do deal with the same issue of I don't want to become an obnoxious patient emailing all the time, and I'm not really sure what the line is for that. So far, my docs seem to appreciate me emailing them, because 1, it helps them keep up to date a bit better on my condition, and 2, we've solved quite a few issues and questions via email that would have been much more confusing to deal with on the phone and even more annoying to have to be in the office for, esp that my pulmonologist's office is an hour away.

    I do think your email was well written. With Kaiser, I have to fit everything I want to say in an email in 1000 characters... quite an art sometimes to fit everything that's necessary, without forgetting important details, but not including too much detail, and yet still making sense.
    I'm not sure if it's a good thing or what, but I've figured out as a general rule when each of my docs will reply to an email I send them. Does this indicate that I've had too many questions? I only email them when necessary, or with my pulmonologist, to tell him if something is working/helping (this is news he's always glad to hear), or if things are getting quite noticeably worse, or if I have an important question about the treatment plan or trying something else.

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  7. Wow, I have never had a doctor give me their Email. I think your sounds good.

    Have you ever had an ACTH stimulation test or a 24 hour urine test? Just curious. If not, how did you get diagnosed?

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Thanks for your comment. I read all comments and do my best to respond to questions, usually in a new post.

If you have adrenal issues and want to connect with other patients the following message boards are wonderful resources:

http://www.mdjunction.com/forums/adrenal-insufficiency-discussions/general-support

http://www.addisonssupport.com/