Perturbed that Doc sometimes seems a bit, uh, hurried? Well, did you check out that crowd in the waiting room? “We want to be thorough,” top Boston HIV doc Cal Cohen, MD, insists. “But people do get pissed off when we’re running late. So please do what you can to make the most of the visit.” Like trying on these tips for full-throttle face time with Doc:
BEFORE your visit: Buy a “Doc Log”—simply a notebook with pockets for loose forms. Record: Your pre-HIV medical history • Year of HIV diagnosis and your first CD4 count/viral load • Subsequent meds (with doses and times per day), lab numbers, illnesses and supplements • Copies of your labs • All symptoms and concerns to address at your next visit. Also: Have your labs done early so they’re on Doc’s desk to discuss.
DURING your visit: Show Doc your symptoms list right away. “Sometimes #12 on the list is a big deal to us,” Cohen says. • Ask if you can e-mail queries between visits. • Find a pharmacy that will let Doc renew all your ’scripts on one fax form.
AFTER your visit: Ask yourself: Does Doc cut you off? Dismiss your concerns? Talk over your head? Say so—nicely. No change? Find a new doctor! Get referrals from HIVers or your nearest AIDS organization. • Go to www.aahivm.org; click “Resources,” then “Find a Provider.” • E-mail your location and health plan to firstname.lastname@example.org for a custom list of prospects. • No insurance? Call 800.734.7104 to get hooked up to ADAP or Medicaid. P.S. Your new Doc will love you for your Log.
IN BETWEEN visits: Hit these sites for more HIV/MD insights: