I design opportunities for people with complex health challenges to make health promoting decisions about food intake and physical activity. This process involves, obtaining information about current health status, examining current decision making, and clarifying goals. I use the social ecological framework for nutrition and physical activity decisions to identify the types of interventions that will help them successfully achieve their goals. I refer them to appropriate practitioners.
I am going to write about each of these stages in turn, starting with obtaining information about current health status. My current form asks people to list each physician they have seen in the 18-month period prior to their first consultation with me, each test they have been given and its results, all their diagnoses, their prognoses, and their list of prescriptions.
WE WILL CALL YOU IF THERE IS A PROBLEM
As I explained in an earlier blog, many people cannot complete this form accurately. They visit a physician, they provide blood and/or urine, and they submit to various forms of imaging. Then they wait for a call that tells them their results were problematic in some way. They agree to a situation in which no immediate problem means not only no call but no information whatsoever.
I do not believe that this is in the health care consumer’s best interest. This is the first area in which I became a patient advocate. I advocated for myself. “It is my health. The tests were paid for by my insurance (for which I pay), so they are my results and I want them!”
THE 15 MINUTE OFFICE VISIT
Another problem is the general quickness of the typical office visit. It leads some physicians to filter and reduce how much they say during an office visit. They chart more information than they speak. Others throw around multiple diagnoses using medical terminology so rapidly that even an informed lay person has difficulty keeping up. I can’t be the only one who gets distracted or forgets.
COLLECTING THE DATA
Now, I either collect and organize this information for my clients or teach them how to do this for themselves. Collecting the data can be expensive, time consuming and frustrating. The creation of the “patient portal” has solved some of the problems with obtaining this type of information. They eliminate the initial charge for copies and sometimes provide much faster turn around time.
But portals are far from perfect. They require computer skills, computer patience, and the ability to be both patient and persistent with the human beings on the other end. Portals, then, can still be time consuming and frustrating. That’s why people hire me.
I am prepared to deal with the frustrations of collecting and collating the medical data for people who hire me to do so. When we find errors in the data, I assist with getting corrections made. I provide the assembled data in a format or formats of their choosing. For those who avoid digital media, I present the data in three ring binders because they ease updating. For those who live in the digital world, I provide the collated and indexed records in the cloud and on USB.
This service was first requested by an exhausted family care giver when a sister agreed to take a turn caring for their mother. At the last moment she realized that much of her mother’s medical record was stored in her head. We worked to create a usable packet of information for her sister as well as do the paperwork and online forms that would allow the sister to request information from physicians and access portals. It has become one of the services that I provide most frequently, along with helping people learn how to do it for themselves.
Recently I provided this service for a delightful couple getting ready to enjoy their retirement with some long-range travel. They both needed records from Patient First, VCU Health, Bon Secours, and HCAVa. Individually they needed records from several different specialist health care providers. When the time came to decide how they would carry their records, she opted for a bracelet and he opted for dog tags.
On Saturday (August 4, 2018), I lead a workshop in which a group of Wisdom Warriors practiced accessing their patient portals for themselves. I learned as much from them as they did from me. If you have never been in a room with group of nonjudgmental older women discussing their health issues, you have no idea how much we laughed.
They congratulated me on the positive change in my fasting glucose levels since, I started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). They noticed the post surgery weight loss They wanted to know if I had experienced any other changes in health indicators. NO ASTHMA. NO RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS.
For years, I have experienced allergenic asthma. Last year the wheezing started in the spring with the pollen. By August every section of my respiratory system was infected or inflamed. I had a sinus infection, an infection in my middle ear, bronchitis, and then pneumonia. Most of my energy went into simply trying to breathe. This year a mild reaction to pollen and dust mites and nothing more.
I believe that attempting to follow the AIP has resulted in the elimination of one or more food items that were triggering the asthma and leading to the extreme respiratory distress. I have hypothesized that the culprit is wheat. The ladies want to know how I plan to test the hypothesis. They have invited me to come back next month.
I plan to start the next workshop by leading them through some tracking exercises. We will work on tracking food intake. This is the first step required to identify any food sensitivities and allergies that may trigger over enthusiastic immune systems.
The next goal is to eliminate potential food triggers from the diet. The AIP is one of many elimination protocols. The key is to select a protocol and stick with it for the required length of time before reintroducing the potential triggers. Changing dietary styles can be difficult.
The elimination component of the AIP is working for me. My autoimmune conditions are in remission (the wolf pack is resting quietly even in the face of daily thunderstorms). I am no longer moving toward type 2 diabetes. And last, but not least, my killer t-cells have their weapons holstered and I have not experienced respiratory distress.
Your comments are invited and appreciated. If you would like to schedule a workshop or an individual consultation, contact me.