Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist

I’m looking for your best tips.
Starting a relationship with a new specialist can be daunting. You want to get off to a good start and ensure that you establish mutual respect and are able to develop trust. You want to know you’re in good hands. What is their expertise and experience? What research are they doing? Will they listen and consider your input?

How do you get off to the best start with a new provider? What suggestions would you tell a friend who is going to see a new doctor?

@contentandwell

@debbraw. I passed out and fell on my L side on Sunday (long story). Monday I hurt but Monday night I REALLY HURT. We ended up going to the local ER because that is the one area of that hospital that I think is ok. The personnel and the doctor I saw were good, and very thorough due to my fainting – they were concerned I might have a heart issue. I do not. Bottom line, I have a minor fracture of my femur. I can do whatever I can tolerate. To get to that point though, I was there for EIGHT hours! We were exhausted and hungry by the time we left, a little after 10 PM.
I just could not see driving over an hour to go to MGH for that. If they said I needed to be admitted we would have made the drive though. I wish we were a bit closer to Boston. If we manage to move I would like to move south to MA but my husband is opposed because we would lose a lot in income tax. NH has no income tax.
JK

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@contentandwell Hope you are feeling better today. What do the doctors say will be the course of action for this issue now with your femur? There's so much other things going on now this, right?
Ginger

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@auntieoakley

I like to listen to everything the doctor says, answer their questions, then ask my questions. I expect to be treated with the same respect I afford them. I always like to make sure that they know I am not questioning their abilities, just asking for information or clarification. But if they are dismissive, I will usually move on to another doctor. We pay so much for medical care that I feel I should be able to feel comfortable that my questions are answered. Because I have been my husbands caregiver and we have been at Mayo for extended times, I understand how it should be.

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@auntioakley During years with my disorders I have seen my fair share of specialists. Definitely there have been some that I did not want to return back to. There have been some who started out okay but things seem to change and I had to talk to them very frankly. My primary care doctor was bad at keeping me waiting. One time it was over an hour and a half for him, it appears he was in a meeting. So I am very frankly told him either he had time for his patients or he had time for meetings but apparently he didn't have time for both and he needed to make a decision, as he was in charge of new interns at the medical center. I guess that's what it took; after that he was much better. My nephrologist and my hematologist-oncologist are aces in their field and they have teamed together to work with my situation. I can only hope that my new specialists in my new town will be the same.
Ginger

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@jammer

I have my first appt. with Mayo, Jacksonville on Aug 5. for mac but since I made the appointment other problems have developed. Does anyone know if they can handle my other problems? for example, I am having problems with my Pancreas now that I have been on the "big 3" for 6 months. and my site is getting worse. I fill like I am going around in circles not knowing what kind of doctor to go to.

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@jammer, Mayo Clinic has experts from every discipline who collaborate and work together in the best interest of the patient. I suggest that you inform the doctor or department where you are currently scheduled, and give them an update of your current new conditions. It could be related to the medications that you are taking, or something else. They might request more information now, or they will want to wait until you arrive. Whether or not you actually 'see' a doctor from a different department, you can be assured that your records and/or new tests will be reviewed by the apprpopriate department.
Please do this now, since you say that your site is getting worse.

Have you visited out Visiting Mayo Clinic Discussion Group?
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/traveling-to-mayo-clinic/

Jammer, I send you my best positive thoughts for healing. I will be here and I am happy to assist you in any way that I can.

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@jammer

I have my first appt. with Mayo, Jacksonville on Aug 5. for mac but since I made the appointment other problems have developed. Does anyone know if they can handle my other problems? for example, I am having problems with my Pancreas now that I have been on the "big 3" for 6 months. and my site is getting worse. I fill like I am going around in circles not knowing what kind of doctor to go to.

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@jammer, I completely agree with @rosemarya. Contact the department (Pulmonary Medicine https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/pulmonary-medicine/home/orc-20397844) where your appointment is currently scheduled. They will want to know about these additional developments, which may or may not be related to MAC and/or the treatment. If you need to see additional specialists, that will be arranged either during the same visit or a subsequent visit.

I'm tagging @windwalker as she goes to Mayo Jacksonville for MAC and may have more specific helpful hints.

Jammer, you might also be interested in these discussions in the MAC group:
– Vision Problems while on Treatment for MAC? (excluding ethambutol) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion-manage/vision-problems-while-on-treatment-excluding-ethambutol/
– Eye problems with treatment? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/eye-problems-with-treatment/

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@jakedduck1

@contentandwell
Hey JK,
Sorry to hear of your Syncope episode. Did you lose consciousness or have pre syncope. Did they cast your leg? Since the femur is usually hard to brake I was curious if you have Osteoporosis or Osteopenia? Didn’t mean for this to be an inquisition. I hope it’s not to painful.
Take care,
Jake

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@jakedduck1 you really quite knowledgeable about many medical things, sort of like my daughter. She has never been in a medical position yet she seems to have an amazing amount of knowledge. Were you ever in a medical position?

I think it may actually have been presyncope. If I did actually pass out, it was for a fraction of a sec.
It’s called Displaced fracture of greater trochanter of left femur. I really cannot put any weight on it. I have an appointment next week with a specialist so hopefully I will find more out then.

No cast or anything, it’s actually referred to as a hip fracture, a slight misnomer. A walker is imperative for me.
JK

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@mrsbv

@contentandwell – Hello there. I just wanted to say that I am very sorry or what you are going through. Pain is such a horrible thing. One of these days, we shall have a miracle pill to take all of our ! I know it will not happen, but it's always nice to think of the something that makes you smile. I am sending you positive thoughts and blessings. I hope you are recover peacefully. 😉

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@mrsbv @hopeful33250 thanks to both of you.

I am seeing a specialist next week. The ER doctor actually conferred with him about my situation. I looked him up and he has excellent credentials, so I am looking forward to meeting with him and finding out what he has to say about my fracture. The ER doctor made very little of it but when I googled it (Nondisplaced fracture of greater trochanter of left femur) it sounded more serious than he indicated.
I really hate being dependent, I tend to be a very self-sufficient type of person. I hate pain too, and it is painful.
JK

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@gingerw

@contentandwell Hope you are feeling better today. What do the doctors say will be the course of action for this issue now with your femur? There's so much other things going on now this, right?
Ginger

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@gingerw I am seeing a specialist next week so I will know a lot more after that.

Yes, I do have a lot going on. I really did not need this.
JK

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@contentandwell

@mrsbv @hopeful33250 thanks to both of you.

I am seeing a specialist next week. The ER doctor actually conferred with him about my situation. I looked him up and he has excellent credentials, so I am looking forward to meeting with him and finding out what he has to say about my fracture. The ER doctor made very little of it but when I googled it (Nondisplaced fracture of greater trochanter of left femur) it sounded more serious than he indicated.
I really hate being dependent, I tend to be a very self-sufficient type of person. I hate pain too, and it is painful.
JK

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@contentandwell I'm so sorry your in so much pain but glad you are seeing someone with good credentials next week I,ll be praying for your recovery from this fall. Be careful

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@contentandwell

@debbraw. I passed out and fell on my L side on Sunday (long story). Monday I hurt but Monday night I REALLY HURT. We ended up going to the local ER because that is the one area of that hospital that I think is ok. The personnel and the doctor I saw were good, and very thorough due to my fainting – they were concerned I might have a heart issue. I do not. Bottom line, I have a minor fracture of my femur. I can do whatever I can tolerate. To get to that point though, I was there for EIGHT hours! We were exhausted and hungry by the time we left, a little after 10 PM.
I just could not see driving over an hour to go to MGH for that. If they said I needed to be admitted we would have made the drive though. I wish we were a bit closer to Boston. If we manage to move I would like to move south to MA but my husband is opposed because we would lose a lot in income tax. NH has no income tax.
JK

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@contentandwell – Oh JK, I am so sorry for what you've had to go through. A trip to the ER is miserable. I love Mayo and I've been to their ER for myself once and my husband a couple of times. They are great – but that does not mean I want to go there. It's scary, time-consuming, and awful no matter how professional and nice they are. I hope you are okay and get better every day. Did they find out why you passed out? I've been to the ER with my husband for that issue and after numerous tests, they said he was probably dehydrated from working in the yard….

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@debbraw

@contentandwell – Oh JK, I am so sorry for what you've had to go through. A trip to the ER is miserable. I love Mayo and I've been to their ER for myself once and my husband a couple of times. They are great – but that does not mean I want to go there. It's scary, time-consuming, and awful no matter how professional and nice they are. I hope you are okay and get better every day. Did they find out why you passed out? I've been to the ER with my husband for that issue and after numerous tests, they said he was probably dehydrated from working in the yard….

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@lioness. Thank you, linda. Prayers are always appreciated.

@debbraw. The battery of tests showed nothing wrong with me so they think it was from the extreme pain. That can cause it.

Trips to the ER always are miserable due to the long wait. Eight hours was beyond ridiculous though.
JJ

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@contentandwell

@lioness. Thank you, linda. Prayers are always appreciated.

@debbraw. The battery of tests showed nothing wrong with me so they think it was from the extreme pain. That can cause it.

Trips to the ER always are miserable due to the long wait. Eight hours was beyond ridiculous though.
JJ

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@contentandwell I hate going to E.R> I usually go to urgent care Its still a wait but not like E.R. The only way you get in faster is by ambulance I found out . Thank goodness so far I haven't used one.

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@cacoon6

Hello, I know this is an older post but I would love some feedback. I have been disappointed as of late with my lack of healthcare. I was recently dx with some brain issues which are scary enough. I am a Mom of 4 and worked in the medical field all my life (not an RN). But, have been pretty healthy minus a few surgeries in the past. I started to do my research from evidence based websites with my condition and the last neuro I saw seemed to use that against me by saying "You are educated" I never try to act smarter than the MD because I am not. I just want to get better and feel better. Any advice how to connect with my Mayo appointment ahead of time? It isn't until August? Should I send a fax ahead of time saying who I am? I want to get better and get treated…all I have been given locally and not so locally is, here is pain meds and your headache isn't the cause of your brain issues. I want them to know me and see me and I am spending $ and scared I will leave another appointment disappointed and dismissed…

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@cacoon6 You don't need to contact Mayo ahead of your appointment unless you are sending something like imaging studies. I had to do that before getting an appointment. All the staff that I have encountered at Mayo are excellent and you don't need to try to introduce yourself ahead of time to get excellent care. You can make a list of questions to ask at your appointment and list your concerns so you don't forget while you are there. I understand the fears and concern over costs. Don't worry, when you go there as a patient who is interested in getting better, they will listen and also refer you to other specialists there because it is a team approach. For now, work on getting yourself organized with your information, questions, lists of medications, where to stay, etc. That will help diffuse some of the anxiety. I went through that too of being worried about being dismissed. I needed spine surgery and had been dismissed 5 times before I came to Mayo, and my experience there was wonderful. I got the help I needed and made a great recovery. Even though you might have detailed medical knowledge, discuss with your providers in simple language. I ran up against that before I came to Mayo and a nurse didn't pay attention to real symptoms connected to my spine problem and was very defensive every time I asked a question. You don't want to come across as a patient who diagnoses themselves and challenges opinions. Instead ask questions instead of telling them why you think it is what it is. If you feel anxious, write down your feelings and why. Do that just for you. It will help you process the feelings.

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@jenniferhunter

@cacoon6 You don't need to contact Mayo ahead of your appointment unless you are sending something like imaging studies. I had to do that before getting an appointment. All the staff that I have encountered at Mayo are excellent and you don't need to try to introduce yourself ahead of time to get excellent care. You can make a list of questions to ask at your appointment and list your concerns so you don't forget while you are there. I understand the fears and concern over costs. Don't worry, when you go there as a patient who is interested in getting better, they will listen and also refer you to other specialists there because it is a team approach. For now, work on getting yourself organized with your information, questions, lists of medications, where to stay, etc. That will help diffuse some of the anxiety. I went through that too of being worried about being dismissed. I needed spine surgery and had been dismissed 5 times before I came to Mayo, and my experience there was wonderful. I got the help I needed and made a great recovery. Even though you might have detailed medical knowledge, discuss with your providers in simple language. I ran up against that before I came to Mayo and a nurse didn't pay attention to real symptoms connected to my spine problem and was very defensive every time I asked a question. You don't want to come across as a patient who diagnoses themselves and challenges opinions. Instead ask questions instead of telling them why you think it is what it is. If you feel anxious, write down your feelings and why. Do that just for you. It will help you process the feelings.

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@jenniferhunter @cacoon6 Excellent advice before an appointment at any new medical center, or going to a new department at a medical center where you have been treated for conditions in other departments.

I am seeing a new ortho next who specializes in trauma injuries and although I always do try to prepare I will use this as a guide to make sure I have my bases covered.
JK

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My final suggestion would be to plan to meet "the specialist" prepared with all the information you have accumulated through your medical journey; similar to a resume…yet, a medical journey. You will be prepared to answer all questions.Please make sure to get the patient questionnaire prior to you appointment and have it completely filled out. You should also prepared to answer and add new notes to your medical journal. I tend to keep a video and/or photo journal of my symptoms, as well as a written journey. This is important as the last Specialist you may have been with prescribed you with medications that you have already tried and did not work for you. Of course, as I mentioned before…you want to be very cautious of who you are meeting. Did you review the Specialist credentials, what rating reviews does this Specialist have? No matter what, Patients must connect with his or her specialist. Please be cautious. It's great to know you are able to trust your specialist and that you can open your heart to that specialist. I would suggest that you not judge on the opinion of others. YOU are making an important decision…and it is your decision; and not the decision of others. Remember, YOU always come first. ❤

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@mrsbv

My final suggestion would be to plan to meet "the specialist" prepared with all the information you have accumulated through your medical journey; similar to a resume…yet, a medical journey. You will be prepared to answer all questions.Please make sure to get the patient questionnaire prior to you appointment and have it completely filled out. You should also prepared to answer and add new notes to your medical journal. I tend to keep a video and/or photo journal of my symptoms, as well as a written journey. This is important as the last Specialist you may have been with prescribed you with medications that you have already tried and did not work for you. Of course, as I mentioned before…you want to be very cautious of who you are meeting. Did you review the Specialist credentials, what rating reviews does this Specialist have? No matter what, Patients must connect with his or her specialist. Please be cautious. It's great to know you are able to trust your specialist and that you can open your heart to that specialist. I would suggest that you not judge on the opinion of others. YOU are making an important decision…and it is your decision; and not the decision of others. Remember, YOU always come first. ❤

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@mrsbv Alma, excellent thoughts! Not every specialist will be the right fit. Find the right one for you! Document, document, document!
Ginger

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