How do you get the most out of your doctor’s visit, medical tests, or procedures? Talk, talk, talk, and talk more.

If you know you have a problem, get it across to the person in more than one way. Make sure they are listening, get acknowledgment that they heard you, repeat it.

Going for a blood test? Tell the technician if you have small veins, need a butterfly needle, or if you are going to faint if the vein rolls and they keep digging for blood. If the technician can’t get it the first time, ask for another technician. Emory University AUTOMATICALLY requires a tech to stop after one try.

Going for a cat scan or MRI? Tell them you are claustrophobic or anxious. Perhaps tell the physician & get a medication to calm you down beforehand. It’s better than freaking out in the machine and you can’t do anything about it until you get out. It’s not fun to have four people pick you up off the floor.

Routine doctor’s visit? WRITE out your medications you are taking, any symptoms. Any changes in your lifestyle/ health since your last visit. Write out any questions before you go. Take your spouse… Sometimes you need someone there to remind you if you forgot anything, to write down what the doctor says to help you remember.

If you don’t feel good about the situation, TALK!

California, Here We Come!

6 days left until Joel & I are leaving for California! I am so thrilled to be going to Los Angeles … the movie stars, the beaches, the outlandish homes. The lifestyles of the rich and famous.

We’re not going for any of these reasons.

Every two years the Adult Congenital Heart Association has a conference for patients and cardiologist. I learned about this conference at the beginning of February at Dr. B’s office. The timing didn’t give us much time to budget for it, so I wasn’t sure Joel would spring for this. But he wanted to go & give us the opportunity to better my health and outlook for the future. And God provided the money. We received a partial scholarship from the ACHA, provided by the physicians and surgeons donations, as well as my parents gave us money for the hotel.

So… We are going.

The conference has general education, as well as breakout sessions and a gala. Topics will include specific defects, transplants, nutrition, managing insurance, managing depression and anxiety (which can come from talking to Shirley at Blue Cross), and future technology.

Both my cardiologist, Dr. B, and surgeon, Dr. K, are going to be speakers to the physicians. My nurse is teaching about nutrition. So excited!