Managing Doctors' Appointments

As my father was a self-sufficient and independent man, almost to a fault, he was the one solely in charge of his healthcare and his appointments. Now, not so much.

Though he wants to be, there are too many moving pieces and multiple doctors' offices to keep in touch with for him.

Keeping track of all the doctors

Each symptom of Parkinson’s disease, his diabetes, and his heart disease, require its very own specialist. The urinary incontinence requires a urologist. The failing kidneys require a nephrologist. The muscle spasms require a physical therapist and a chiropractor. There is of course also the neurologist, the cardiologist, and the primary care physician.

All these doctors, and my not living at home, meant we had to come up with a system. There is a calendar on the fridge that my mother adds the new doctor appointments to and anytime there are home services, the nurse or therapist must go to the calendar and add the next time they plan on coming in.

Managing his transportation schedule

Besides managing the actual appointments, there is also scheduling the medical transportation services. My father should not be driving and as it is, Medicare covers up to 13 round trip medical service transportation rides. If it’s covered, you had better believe I am using it.

However, the transportation service gets filled up and booked very quickly, so I must call the doctor’s office and put a hold on a potential appointment. Then I call the transportation company and confirm they aren’t booked at that time. If they are, I call the doctor's office back and push the appointment even further.

Typically, I need to call the transportation services at least three weeks in advance to ensure I get a ride scheduled. Sometimes, if I push, they will send out a taxi to take my father to and from his appointment. It’s not ideal because they aren’t medically trained to handle someone with Parkinson’s but if it’s necessary, I’ll okay it.

I wish they would talk to one another

All of this and I still feel like there is more I can do to manage my father’s Parkinson’s disease. Besides calling his doctor and setting up his appointments, I wish there was a way to make them all meet and talk to each other.

One specialist says one thing and the other says that’ll affect this thing and on and on and on. If they could just hold a monthly meeting and work as a team, I know that there is a way to manage his care in a more efficient way.

This isn’t even including non-western medicine options. We want him to really explore the benefits of Chinese medicine or homeopathic practices. Western medical research on Parkinson’s is not very much and non-western research is even less. But I know, with consistency, acupuncture and Chinese medicine could make a difference for him, possibly even reduce his symptoms. But of course, this isn’t covered by Medicare and to even entertain the notion with them would mean spending a week on the phone with representatives who are well-meaning but ill-informed.

I will keep doing everything I can

Until I become very rich or figure out a better system, or even cure Parkinson’s myself, this is the system that is going to have to do for now. And I don’t mind if it means his care is organized and as efficient as I can make it.

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