Wednesday, February 13, 2008

3 Months Out & Follow Up Appointment

I’m down 55 pounds and have lost 32% of my excess weight. I had my 3-month follow up appointment at the bariatric center today and they said I’m trending above average with my rate of weight loss. Yippee! Speaking of the appointment …. We got more snow last night, so this morning’s drive was really slow. I arrived at my appointment about 45 minutes late. Which probably didn’t actually put them behind schedule because they’re always running late anyway.

I had to meet with 3 people today: Dietician, Nurse & Nurse Practitioner.

First up was the Dietician.
I met with a different one this time around and was not happy at all. You know how some people in the medical field tend to talk down to obese people … or maybe it’s not even just obese people, but people in general. They assume you’re not as well educated and don’t really know what’s going on with your body, so they talk to you like a 3rd grader. Well, that’s what I got with this dietician today.

I asked her simple questions and she seemed unable to give me a straight and decisive answer. It was almost like she listened to the first 3 words of my question, then stopped listening to the rest and as soon as she could interrupt me, she’s go off on a tangent about what she *thought* I was going to ask – which usually ended up being no where near what I was asking. I also tried to explain some of my concerns with my lab work and she just brushed me off as if I didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. She even said something along the lines of “If there was really a problem, then I’d order more tests. I’ll let you know when there’s a problem.”

I’m sorry, but *I* am the one responsible for my own health and if I have a concern about the result of one of my blood tests, I expect to be able to freely ask those questions and get honest feedback, not the brush off. I’ve been gone from the office for 6 hours now and I’m still angry about the way I was treated by that woman! So next time I go for an appointment, I’m going to call ahead and specifically ask to see the other dietician who is much more professional, compassionate and is willing to answer any question I ask her.

Next up was the Nurse.
She asked me all the medical questions about how I was feeling and if I had any complaints or complications. She checked my incision scars and I got a passing grade on all that. I mentioned to her about my hair loss and she ensured me that it was normal and to keep getting all my protein in to help slow the process a bit. This visit was an easy one and I got the all-clear from the Nurse.

Then I saw the Nurse Practitioner.
I discussed with her my concern about the prescription Vitamin D medication that my primary doctor put me on, she was able to look it up in her drug guide and give me a clear answer that the medicine was fine for a WLS person. (There was some concern since one of the warnings on the drug – Drisdol – said not to take it if the patient has ‘malabsorption syndrome’.) Why couldn’t the dietician do that, it was an easy look up, duh!

I also discussed my hair loss with the Nurse Practitioner and she mentioned the possibility that low iron could contribute to hair loss along with low protein levels. But my iron levels are fine and she doubted that would be the cause. It’s just a normal phase of WLS, so there’s not much to do besides wait it out. She also told me to start back on the Biotin (which the dietician took me off of) and that should help with the hair regrowth.

I also showed her the chart I keep of my lab work results --- so that every result is seen side by side and you can easily see trends in each category (the dietician didn’t want to talk about this). After seeing the great fluctuation in my B12 level after only being off the pills for 2.5 weeks, she told me to start taking them again, but only 3 days a week instead of daily. Low B12 levels can cause permanent neurological damage, so that’s not something I want to mess with. Turns out I also share my birthday with the CNP’s mother – she was thrilled. hehehe. Overall, I enjoyed meeting with her and learned a lot from our short conversation.

Also ..... Do you know your surgeon?

There’s something that seems very strange to me about my bariatric center. I don’t actually meet with my surgeon post-op. Is this unusual?

I hear of so many WLS’ers who have established some type of relationship / friendship with their surgeons and have glowing rave reviews of them after every appointment. And me... I'm lucky if I even know what the guy looks like. I had a “meet-n-greet” with my surgeon a couple weeks before surgery. Not a true appointment where he did a medical history or exam because that was all done by my first-choice surgeon who was not able to do my surgeon (he had a stroke) and I was assigned this new doctor instead. When I was in the hospital after surgery, he never stopped by my room to check on me (at least not while I was awake anyway), his assistant did that instead. I didn’t see him at my 2-week or 6-week follow up appointments either. I saw his face today because he accidently stuck his head in the room I was in looking for someone else, but that doesn’t count, I’m sure.

So I’m wondering what others experience with their surgeons. Do you actually meet with him at your follow up appointments? Or are you just seeing the staff at the facility instead? Ok, I’ve rambled on for long enough, I guess.

Thanks for sticking it out this long…

1 comment:

  1. Woo hoo on losing 55 pounds already!! You are doing awesome!

    Oh, I could tell you stories about my dietician being the same as yours. If it's out of their "manual", they are not willing to look into it further. I was so annoyed by her the last time that I will undoubtedly ask for the other one next time. You should let the center know how you feel about the visit you had today.

    The only reason I "know" my surgeon more than most is because my husband had surgery with him and then I had him take my gall bladder out 6 months later. Otherwise, I wouldn't have seen him again. I think this is weird since we, as WLS patients, seem to get attached to the person who "helped save our lives".

    I'm so happy for you and all of your accomplishments thus far. It's going to fly by quickly.


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