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Thread: Too Many Doctor Appointments

  1. #1

    Too Many Doctor Appointments

    First posting here, although I've been getting help from everyone else's posts for over a month. Thank you all soooo much.

    Son (a single adult in his 40's) was injured in skydiving accident 7/10/10. After 3 months in hospitals & Rehab, he is now living in a great Adult Family Home near family. Besides his in-home physical therapies, family comes twice a day to help work him out. He's making slow but steady improvements and looking forward to being able to control his wheelchair with hand controls vs mouth controls.

    But upon his discharge from Rehab and arrival in new home (many hours from Rehab facility), he was told to immediately find a Primary Care Physician. So he went to a PCP who wanted a 6-week followup appointment. He also wanted son to see a Rehab doctor to authorize therapies. Since he's not in very large town, Rehab doctor has had very few cases as severe as my son's so didn't really do anything except authorize the therapies and then wants him to come back again in another month. PCP also wanted him to see Neurologist as soon as possible, even though discharge papers said it wasn't necessary for 6 months. Meanwhile, son had a bad uti & had to spend a few days in the hospital, with a required follow-up doctor appointment a week later.

    So now it seems we are going to a different doctor every 1-2 weeks for some kind of followup, even though there is no problem or change in his condition (except for the uti which I am glad to say is resolved). It is very stressful to son to go to these doctor appointments. He is still very uncomfortable backing his wheelchair into the dial-a-ride van (takes several tries to get on platform correctly) and stresses about every outing he takes. I realize that the practice is good for him, but what's the point of visiting a doctor, just to have him ask how it's going, all is ok, and come back and see me in another month? It's also hard to coordinate someone to go with him to appointments (needs total assistance) and schedule a ride. Son wants me to cancel all these follow-up appointments, but will the doctors say he's uncooperative and quit treating him? Our doctor options are limited because he's on Medicaid, although he apparently has the best coverage there is (fully covered).

    I also don't see why he has to follow up with doctors constantly when he has no immediate issues. His therapists and caregivers are doing a great job treating him and would be sure to let us know if something isn't right with him that we may not be aware of.

    Sorry this is so long. Does anyone else feel this way or have to deal with this? Or is it just normal and we should just accept it?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerryskid View Post
    First posting here, although I've been getting help from everyone else's posts for over a month. Thank you all soooo much.

    Son (a single adult in his 40's) was injured in skydiving accident 7/10/10. After 3 months in hospitals & Rehab, he is now living in a great Adult Family Home near family. Besides his in-home physical therapies, family comes twice a day to help work him out. He's making slow but steady improvements and looking forward to being able to control his wheelchair with hand controls vs mouth controls.

    But upon his discharge from Rehab and arrival in new home (many hours from Rehab facility), he was told to immediately find a Primary Care Physician. So he went to a PCP who wanted a 6-week followup appointment. He also wanted son to see a Rehab doctor to authorize therapies. Since he's not in very large town, Rehab doctor has had very few cases as severe as my son's so didn't really do anything except authorize the therapies and then wants him to come back again in another month. PCP also wanted him to see Neurologist as soon as possible, even though discharge papers said it wasn't necessary for 6 months. Meanwhile, son had a bad uti & had to spend a few days in the hospital, with a required follow-up doctor appointment a week later.

    So now it seems we are going to a different doctor every 1-2 weeks for some kind of followup, even though there is no problem or change in his condition (except for the uti which I am glad to say is resolved). It is very stressful to son to go to these doctor appointments. He is still very uncomfortable backing his wheelchair into the dial-a-ride van (takes several tries to get on platform correctly) and stresses about every outing he takes. I realize that the practice is good for him, but what's the point of visiting a doctor, just to have him ask how it's going, all is ok, and come back and see me in another month? It's also hard to coordinate someone to go with him to appointments (needs total assistance) and schedule a ride. Son wants me to cancel all these follow-up appointments, but will the doctors say he's uncooperative and quit treating him? Our doctor options are limited because he's on Medicaid, although he apparently has the best coverage there is (fully covered).

    I also don't see why he has to follow up with doctors constantly when he has no immediate issues. His therapists and caregivers are doing a great job treating him and would be sure to let us know if something isn't right with him that we may not be aware of.

    Sorry this is so long. Does anyone else feel this way or have to deal with this? Or is it just normal and we should just accept it?
    Its a pain, but it settles down. I have been inured for little over a year and I remember the period after leaving rehab and getting my long term care setup did take quite a few visits. I would stick with it, it is vital you have good doctors who are involved with your sons care. It will get better after a while.

  3. #3
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    I think your question is a legitimate one, and one that many of us have dealt with at one time or another. When I was still struggling to use a manual chair with totally wrecked shoulders from overuse I was also having PT several times a week. I was told to not use my shoulder's any more than necessary, to essentially not do more damage than already was done by activities that were not necessary for survival. The irony of this is that I often had to park far away from the door leading to PT, and then had to push up a rather steep ramp to get through said door. I had ice, heat, TENS units, and range of motion constantly, but the one mantra was to try to conserve my shoulders for the long term. In time we learn to set our own limits and to figure out what makes sense and what is just another payment on the treater's BMW. It will quiet down eventually, but you are allowed to make decisions too, such as deciding that the neurologist can wait till six months as you were originally told was good enough.

  4. #4
    Senior Member skippy13's Avatar
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    It will not always be so busy. Right now you might think about the frequent doctor visits as interviews. The docs are deciding that your son will be able to handle his own care as much as he can and to get to know his specific needs. You by the same token are building a network that he will be able to count on when times get rough, and they do at a moments notice.

    I use the VA for all of my care and frequently have 2-4 appointments per month. It is actually good that he has appointments set up in advance. I have had many appointments turn into a different reason for the visit. Things can turn on a dime.

    It will calm down after a while, so use the frequent visits at the early stages to build a solid foundation for your sons care.
    Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess

  5. #5
    Hi,
    Sorry to hear about your son's accident, but glad that you found Care Cure Community and that you have gotten reassurance and help from the website.

    Your right, it is stressful establishing your personal group of doctors, but it is very necessary for medical professionals to get to know your son and his situation. If an emergency arises, he will know and feel comfortable with the doctors he has seen and with whom he has established a relationship. After two or three follow up appointments with the primary care and specialists, your son should suggest to the doctors that for now a 3 month follow up seems reasonable and after a couple of those, stretch the follow ups to every 6 months, and then on an as needed basis or at least once a year for maybe 2-5 years.

    What are the chances that your son will be leaving the facility that he is living in now and move back home or somewhere closer to his home town? The process may have to be repeated if this living arrangement is temporary.

    All the best,
    GJ

  6. #6
    A warm welcome to the forum and best wishes to you and your son. My situation is non-traumatic, in that I have MS, so I don't have much to contribute about your current situation...but you've had great advice here so far, and will continue to receive support and help from this community.

  7. #7

    Too Many Doctor Appointments

    Wow. You all are bringing up great issues. I see what you mean about building a relationship with his doctors so they will be more familiar with each other if a problem arises.

    A big concern, however, is that none of his doctors seem comfortable dealing with someone at his level of injury (C4 Asia B Incomplete). That's why the PCP wouldn't recommend any physical therapy (although Rehab hospital recommended PCP authorize therapy) and wanted the local Rehab doctor to do it. That meant my son had to go 2 weeks (how long it took to get in with the Rehab Dr) without therapy. Fortunately, that's when the family stepped up and started doing their own physical therapy on him twice a day. (Sadly, I live 1000 miles away and can only visit every 4-6 weeks so I can't take credit for this great support he's getting--but I thank God for them every day -- several times a day .) And now the Rehab doctor answered most of our questions by suggesting that we ask his Rehab hospital (400 miles away) our questions. So I guess that's why the follow-up's seem kind of useless. But probably no doctor here will have much experience with my sons issues, so hopefully they will take enough interest to learn (along with us) as they go.

    So now I guess my problem is going to be how to convince my son that he needs to keep these appointments. He's a grown man, so I can't really tell him what to do. But I'm gonna use all your positive reinforcement to try my best to convince him. Wish me luck.....

  8. #8
    Moderator jody's Avatar
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    you will get this from time to time. the appointments will be more managable at times and sometimes it may seem like that is what you do for a living now, go to appointments.
    How wonderful that his family and friends have pitched in to help. often just the poor exhausted parents or spouse is all there is. every one else disappears often than not.
    It may be helpful if you would put state and county your son lives. there may be some one here who knows of resorces you are not yet aware of . like a GP and sci doctor in your area who will be comfortable accepting him as a patient.
    welcome to care cure, sorry this has happened to your family.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by t8burst View Post
    Its a pain, but it settles down. I have been inured for little over a year and I remember the period after leaving rehab and getting my long term care setup did take quite a few visits. I would stick with it, it is vital you have good doctors who are involved with your sons care. It will get better after a while.
    Agreeing with t8,it does settle down. My husband has a high level injury also and some docs just are not comfortable dealing with him.

  10. #10
    Son lives in southeastern Washington state, in the Tri-Cities, which include Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland. He had to spend a few days in Kadlec Hospital in Richland (for uti), and it was a great facility. If anyone has recommendations for doctors (pcp, rehab, ortho, & neuro) or support groups in this region, please let me know. Thanks.

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