Sunday 22 May 2016

On the milestones of health checks

A schedule ahead
The highlights of my year or rather the more obvious plans scheduled far ahead in each year for over six years now has been my appointments with consultants.
People with vast medical expertise who I face on many occasions to discuss the state of my health, what discoveries have been found, what diagnosis has been arrived at, what the prognosis is, what prophylactic or therapeutic course of treatment is available and eventually what decision has been made in the end.
The cosy conversation
Whilst it is literally impossible to affect the bedside manner of certain dour and boring doctors, and I have met a few, in the main, I have met quite outgoing, understanding, engaging and interesting consultants. This makes for a better environment to discuss issues and many times things in a broader context of life, livelihood, and living.
I get on well with consultants who despite their status, achievement and authority have a listening ear, a sympathetic mien, and a completely unprejudiced view, regardless of what the subject becomes in our conversation.
Many faces seen
It is a bit disconcerting that in England, I have rarely had the pleasure of meeting with consultants that have been assigned to me at the times I have booked my appointments, which is quite different from meeting consultants in The Netherlands or in Wales. Maybe a better scheduling system is required, however, I am told that is how the department is able to attend to a wider number of patients.
On Thursday, I was in hospital and again, I saw another consultant, I always do my research about consultants, see what they qualified in, what their research projects were, review academic, research and professional papers they have written and what conferences they’ve contributed to.
Be read up
At one point the consultant had to accede that I had done considerably more research on her, her background and on some of her personal life than she had on me with the little time she had to glean through my medical file. It has become common practice to elicit my medical history from me than wade through physical or computer files, I am comfortable with that.
In my view, it is incumbent on a patient to be versed with their condition so as to be able to give knowledgeable information and most importantly, you can ask better follow-up questions in relation to how the discussion develops. This helps ensure that any decision made with regards to medical expectations and outcomes takes into consideration your concerns, your anxieties and also your expectations too.
A glad finishing
Beyond the medical, we talked about professions, hobbies, travel and the general things before I was booked for some tests that included a visit to the phlebotomist and two future appointments to review my situation.
I do look forward to these hospital visits and the more prepared I am for the consultation, the better I feel afterwards. I always take notes and in particular the key indicators that come from the blood tests, which gives me a general indication of what my health condition is and so far, I am doing very well.
It is easier to take an Uber cab ride to the hospital than getting one back and I have on occasion ended up getting on a bus going in the completely wrong direction as I did on Thursday. It didn’t bother me, I just got back on the bus at the terminus and rode back until it got me to the ethnic minority superstore where I stocked up on ingredients for my local cuisine before getting back on the bus on the same route that got me back to my street.

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