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Medical Help in Motion

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1. Make a list of all prescriptions, including dosage and have it laminated (Staples) to fit in your wallet.

3. List an emergency contact in your cell phone under “ICE†stands for “in case of emergency†-- speedy help if you are in an accident.

3. Go Digital and carry your memory stick with you.

4. If you will need regular monitoring tests (protime, PSA, sugar, etc.) have your doctor give you plenty of prescriptions to carry with you.

5. Same goes for prescription refills -- or use a national drugstore chain and be sure you are in their computer.

Now for the nitty-gritty.

Maintaining your health on the road falls into a couple of categories. If you are moving around constantly, it’s best to check your insurance coverage well before you go. Some companies only pay if you use their doctors. Not all doctors accept Medicare, which means they will treat you, but their fees are not limited to Medicare’s schedule.

If you find yourself wanting to see a new doctor away from home, you will find most require an initial visit. You will likely be sent to a walk-in clinic, which is not bad: one of my nicest, brightest doctors was at an “Urgent Care Facility†in Venice, FL.

Even my own Doctor from about seven years ago, required I have an “initial visit†to catch up with all the routine tests. The first appointment I could get was 6 weeks away, so I was sent to the aforementioned clinic. We were staying put for the season, so the timing was possible.

Finally, when all the usual tests were done -- full blood work, bone density, neurological, ad infinitum, he offered to put his notes on my computer’s memory stick. A great idea. I now carry all that base information with me for use by any doctor anywhere.

Suggestion for seasonal campers: If you know where you will be and you have a doctor or dentist in mind, make your appointment as far ahead as they will allow. It’s easier to change one than miss out.

Bring notes regarding any interim treatments you may have had between visits.

If you are staying a few weeks or more someplace, read the local papers for any special screenings they are having. When we were in Santa Fe, NM the local hospital was giving free mammograms; did that. A supermarket was doing free cholesterol tests: did that. Take advantage of these. You never know when something will turn up. Besides, this being such a small world, you may meet some very nice people, maybe fellow campers, while waiting in line.

Dentists? That’s another world. Being stellar manufacturers of plaque, we’ve been advised to have our teeth cleaned at least twice a year, sooooooo when we got to Venice, we went to one of the UHC approved offices. By the time the dental “sales lady†tried to talk us into periodontal work, dozens of x-rays and 4 crowns for each of us, we decided to carry the plaque with us, back to Burlington where Champlain Dental knows and cares for us. I’m hoping a viable market will be found for tartar.

Eyes? Usual old-age problem -- need stronger glasses. Saw former doctors in FL, now have prescription for “executive bifocals.†In case some of you with retinal problems don’t know (I didn’t) “executive†means the correction extends wider across the lens eliminating the problem of missing letters and/or numbers at either end of a sequence. With numbers, this can be interesting -- making thousands into hundreds, and other costly errors.

If you feel you need extra medical advice and are near a major clinic, take advantage of it. My eyes still are “not right†and I have just made an appointment to see a retina specialist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, about an hour away. Maybe they can help my depth perception and I’ll stop pouring the orange juice behind the glass.

I’ll just mention one other personal medical situation, only because I’ve run into many people who have the same problem and were thrilled with the initial solution. For years, at night my right arm would be numb and hurt like crazy, sometimes right down to my waist. My neurologist (I have one because of post-polio) suggested a wrist brace. Eureka! Instant help. EMG tests were done (nasty, they are) indicating carpal tunnel syndrome, so while in Burlington this spring, I had the operation. Not only did the symptoms disappear immediately, but the numbness and pain in the other wrist has not returned either. Go Figure. I hope this will encourage any fellow-sufferers to seek help. I can get a full night’s sleep now.

For a less expensive test, get a cheaper adjustable wrist brace at a drug store and try it out.

OK, that’s a lot of yakking, but I hope you’ve found some bit of new info. And speaking of yakking, I have finally learned how to get to an “agent†when confronting a voice-activated system. Apparently, I don’t e-nun-ci-ate properly. Now I ignore the lady who says, “I’m sorry I didn’t understand that. Let’s try again.†To her, I say, “Now is the time for all good men to go to the dogs and I don’t know which dog, but as long as you go ....†About now, she (the machine) breaks in and says, “I will now connect you to an operator.†Whew!

That works for Verizon help too.

Am I having fun yet? Between itinerary planning, doing taxes, writing this blog and our Gypsy Feet website, playing Scrabble on Facebook, experimenting with making sugar and fat-free very dark chocolate drops, Yeah! I’m having fun. This is a great life! Should have started sooner.

Stay healthy! And eat dessert first.

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