Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Don't Be Afraid to Challenge Your Doctor

The Center for Disease Control hasn't released statistics on the effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine, but it acknowledges that getting it is no guarantee you'll avoid getting sick.  As a matter of fact, last season's vaccine effectiveness was 39 percent.  (Source:  Allure)   That's probably why I've never been a fan of the flu shot and the last time I had one was more than 30 years ago.

For nearly a month I have been battling some flu like symptoms.  Because I don't appear to be getting better with my own homemade recipes of tea with lemon and honey, plenty of fluids, and Robitussin, I decided it was time to see my doctor.  Unfortunately my Primary Care Physician was unable to see me because he was booked solid, so I had to see a Nurse Practitioner.  I had never seen her before so I was reluctant but I figured she was better than going to the Urgent Care (next door) which was overflowing with sick folks.

I'm not exactly sure how much of my medical history this NP read before she saw me but she immediately apologized for being more than an hour late in seeing me for my scheduled 9:20 am appointment.  She indicated she was seeing patients back-to-back and two people had to be taken from the clinic to the ER. 

Right at the beginning I wanted her to understand my concern because of my congestive heart failure diagnosis more than 10 years ago.  I'm already dealing with an enlarged heart so additional fluids around that area can have a negative impact on my overall health.  As result, she ordered a bunch of tests. Moments ago, I received the results, which could've been in a foreign language because I didn't understand what they were for and the necessity.  Furthermore, there was nothing in the results that indicated what was wrong although the flu was definitely ruled OUT.  But here's the kicker:  She prescribed some medication for a "possibility" of what I might have.  Who takes medication without knowing why?  I certainly don't!

Why am I sharing this?  Because there are people just like me all over the country who see doctors and don't get definitive results or they're misdiagnosed. This is especially true in the black community, where the quality of healthcare often depends on your skin color. (Source:  HuffPost)

Once I read the results in my email, I immediately sent a note to the NP.  I also sent a :cc to my PCP.   

Ms. NP,

I have looked at the test results from my office visit today.  Since the results are unclear to me, can you tell me what the medication is actually for?  I don't see anything in my test results to indicate what my diagnosis is.  All I know is I continue to feel bad with a tightness in my chest and coughing and congestion.

I will not take the medication until I am clear on the reason why.  The reason for this is several years ago I was given antibiotics for what a doctor thought was pneumonia.  It turned out to be cardiomyopathy.  Terrible misdiagnosis!

Thank you

Don't be afraid to challenge your medical provider.  While you're in the office, take the time to ask questions:

1)  What is the test four?

2)  When will I get the results?

3)  Why do I need this treatment/medication?

4)  Will this medicine interact with medicines I'm already taking?

5)  Are there any alternatives

I'll be sure to follow up to this blog post with the response I receive. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

Oprah for President Says the Media

First of all, let me say, the media ought to be ashamed of itself!  Every news program I turned to this morning was talking about the possibility of Oprah running for President in 2020.  This came as the result of her powerful and I do mean POWERFUL acceptance speech upon receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes awards show Sunday night.

Personally, I have never seen Oprah give a speech when she wasn't powerful and inspiring with something extremely relevant and thought-provoking to say.  She's a journalist by profession so she knows how to use words and use them effectively.  That's what we do.  The major difference between Oprah and the rest of us is she went on to create a media dynasty that opened doors for many in the process.  Folks like Tyler Perry, Ava Duvernay, her gal-pal, Gayle King, former President Barack Obama and a host of  authors, along with one of my hometown friends Delores Pressley, all owe some debt of gratitude to the former Queen of the Daytime Talk Shows .

But here we are now, thanks to the media, thinking about the possibility of Oprah becoming the next President of the United States.  Sources close to Oprah allegedly told a CNN correspondent that she was "actively thinking" about it.  We all actively think about a lot of things so what does that actually mean?  Every morning when I get out of bed I "actively" think about going to the gym. I don't always "actively" get there though.  Every day I "actively" think about what I might make for dinner and most times end up changing my mind to something else or not to make anything at all. I also "actively" think about my next vacation to St. Lucia but my bank account says otherwise.

Here's my point:  Most of the news programs have become nothing more than sensationalized entertainment shows designed to boost their ratings.  We all know how well they did with making Donald Trump our latest President.  They went out of their way to give him more air time and credibility than he ever deserved and now spend their days and nights pulling their hair out over how he could've possibly won.  These days every story they run is to tear down the same man down they spent a whole campaign building up, all for the sake of some "good soundbites."  Now they've got their sights on Oprah Winfrey.

One thing we all know about Oprah is she is very media savvy so she knows what she'll be up against during a knock down drag-out campaign.  But we also know the media too.  We know you can be their darling one minute and they'll be out to destroy you in the next.  As a matter of fact, right after her rousing speech at the Golden Globes, some old, cozy photos of her and alleged sexual assault perp Harvey Weinstein showed up on social media. 

Should Oprah run for President?  I personally don't think so because she can continue doing good work from the current position she's in as a media mogul.  Unlike Donald Trump, Oprah doesn't have to run to make better deals with the rest of the world---which I personally believe is what Trump is doing.  Sadly, he has thrown the American people under the bus while doing so.

Here's another perspective on Oprah for President by the LA Times:  OPRAH