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Tell me, what is the perfect patient?

Try to summarize in your mind, what the perfect patient should be.....

No right or wrong answers
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • Me' I am the perfect patient ' I dont abuse my meds' I joke with the doctor after all i rather be friends with him then get on his bad side'
    I flirt with the nurses' WHAT more can they ask for "
    I shower and shave when i go to my dr appoinments and wear clean underwear'
    I only call them when i know i need them to avoid er visit'
    Usualy if you treat them with respect they will treat you with respect'
    If you go in there with an attitude you will lose' Its realy that simple'
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I'm not the perfect patient. I can't count the times I have cried at my ortho visits (embaressing, and then I cry more because I'm embaressed!). I don't call when I start to have elevated pain because #1 I tell myself its all in my head and I'm fine and #2 In the past I've always been offered pain meds which I RARELY RARELY take because despite my doctor's explanations I have a completely irrational fear of taking them, building a tolerance, and then something happen and nothing will take away the pain. And #3 both my siblings are physicians so they tend to both want updates directly from my surgeon (who is ALWAYS willing to talk with them, but still time consuming) #4 I rarely ask questions, and don't even really like explanations of procedures. So I guess you can say I'm very "unimformed". I figure that if my siblings view all the tests/images, talk to their peers about everything, and directly with my surgeon, then I trust them and what they think is best and I'm affraid if I really knew what all is/was going to be done, I'd just panic and leave the country. #5 I refuse to budge around my work schedule because I love my job and it is such a distraction away from pain. HOWEVER... I'm VERY GOOD LOOKING (ok, moderately good looking) and I do always show up in clean respectable undies and have good hygeine. Oh, and I have no tattoos on my back, so one less thing for the surgeon to have to deal with putting back together perfectly....So that has to give me some positive points. Oh, and I don't complain.

    I do admire those on this board who know EXACTLY what procedures they have had, the complications they experience, the myriad of treatments they use in coordination, etc. Those are probably better patients (but perhaps not has good looking).
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Hmmmm. I am not the perfect patient when it comes to me. For my doctors, Im sure they love me. I never want to make them feel bad...so when they ask how Im doing, I always say..."Im good, and you?" Stupid, I know. Especially with my surgeon...he is the best and I adore him. I find myself not wanting to imply maybe he didnt do his job. So he says..."things look good". I say. "yep...just dandy" In the meantime Im vomiting at night from pain and can barely take care of my kids. I now take someone to every appointment...well have always done that...but now I give them free rain to speak up. How we found out its my SI joint and not the fusion that is causing the majority of my pain...DUH! Being a good patient isnt all its cracked up to be....sometimes the squeaky wheel gets oiled, ya know? Like Alex, I always smile, crack jokes and stay light....they hear enough bitching all day long. I have taken more meds and run out....but I tell them. I have done too much with my kids....I tell them. So perfect patient for the doc or for me? This is a loaded question Ron....thanks again for bringing it to light! Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 02/07/2013 - 4:54 PM
    this was a loaded question. And I think so far, some of the feedback is expected.
    I hope to hear from many more people.

    We have the Alex-Type-A Person, who says it like it is and is truthful. This type does not sugar coat anything for the sake of someone's feeling. Yet, at the same time, he is not going to go out of his way to cause harm. Doctors respect people like him, honest and to the point.

    AllMetal.... Well when I gain some composure, cause all I got from your post is that you are Good looking, no, more very good looking....!

    Elle..I think you just describe what so many patients do with their doctors. The doctor asks how are you feeling, your response is ok... Even though you are in a lot of pain and discomfort. Why is that? (Not you Elle directly, but) is it because we dont wont to bother the doctor or make them feel like they didnt do a good job?

    Nice thing about this loaded question, is that its all here for the rest of us to hash around and discuss. Its not so much that I have this problem, or have that problem, but more to the point, how do you interact with your doctor.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • A good sense of humor has not only helped me through all my spine issues, its also helped my family through the stress. Sometimes when things are so bad, that's all the good you got.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 02/26/2013 - 8:58 PM
    This could go two ways. A perfect patient for the Doctor would be not prepared for the appointment did no homework or reading to learn about your issues. Doesn't come in with a list of symptums and tries to do it all by memory, does not bring in a list of things they have tried or comments from their refering doctor. No medications list of both what your now taking and how long and what you have taken that did not help. A list of what makes it worse. A list of what issue this causes your body from pain levels to functions the body isn't doing right I won't go there TMI
    Down plays some things like there not important and oh yeah good insurance makes you a good patient for most doctors. LOL. Remember weird Als peridy of like a Surgeon cut for the very first time. Agrees with doctor with any thing he or she says and then again with out any questions just say lets get started doctor anything you think will help.
    Now the other side of being a good patient is gong to your surgeon prepared so you may ask questions on why one treatment would be better then another without looking like you are asking him his experience.
    I learned to take in a list of meds now taking and why you think they help or don't. Have a list of meds you have tried that did not work. And another list of meds that have a negative reaction with you like if a morphine pumps make you sick. I was asked before my surgeries what pan, meds helped me the most because of this. Remember we are all differant. Do not push the doctor too much but ask if you have time today doctor could you show me what's wrong on my MRI or if your busy we can do it next time. My surgeon always took the time to right then to go down to the computer room and explain it. He has been the best.

    A good patient always shows up for pre/op and MRIs on time. If going to surgery get there early. I have found doctors schedule their Surgery room with two patients at the same time the first one there gets the early time. Trust me you want the surgeon early in his day. Be polite in pre op and have some fun as we have to wait. I go over everything with the surgeon and they anastesia doctor and do the last min paper work. Be nice to the nurses in preop and they do nice things for you like a numbing agent for you IVs as some hurt. Then OK I am sick so when the interns come in and review the paper work I am sorry but I have to have fun. Interns come in and ask what surgery are you here for, they have the paper work with them to verify. I always have some off the wall question about a optional surgery if there is time. I verified the real surgery and then asked what about the addadicktome would there be time? To young inexperènced intern surgeon ask what that's its not here. So I said they better get the doctor to add it to the paper work. The surgeon and anastialogist kept a straight face and made'them'come'back'and ask why I needed that. I said its simple I want to be able to come and go at the same time, poor guys still didn't get it for several mins. I didn't think my surgeon had much of a fun side to him but he liked that and we have a great repore now. The best part of this now is when I am with him or my PM they will call each other when I am there if there is any questions at all. I feel so good and if need be both doctors will see me that day wthout a appointment if needed Treat them right they treat you right
    One last thought
    When seeing any dotor be honest and be careful I have seen spineys turned down for disability by saying small things like last week was great or one case a lady said she could not ride in a car far and could not sit long or walk very far
    But she had a pass for Disney land and used it several times. Some doctors notes have everything in them so be honest, constant and truth full. And when the doctors late'dont bitch to the help it doest help anyone.
  • Well, from the doctor's standpoint, good insurance is probably at the top of the list.

    Pleasant, honest, compliant with instructions, asking intelligent questions, and listening to the answers are right up there, too. They would rather explain something to you that you find confusing than repair the damage because you did something that you weren't supposed to.

    Try to be as accurate as possible when describing pain. It's the most subjective experience. The pain scale of 0 to 10 means, to most clinicians, that "10" would have you phoning someone to drive you to the emergency room because you are so incapacitated by pain that you couldn't get there under your own steam. "0" means completely comfortable. Most folks with back conditions will fall anyplace from a 3 to a 7 or 8 if they are at home.

    And that's a really good point about being careful about what you're doing: Doctors document everything, and insurance companies review those documents. If you spent the weekend gardening but tell the doctor you can't sit for more than ten minutes at a time, be prepared to get turned down for coverage. This is especially crucial when dealing with social security or workers' compensation.
    I'm not a spinal diagnosis. I'm a human being with a spinal diagnosis.
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