What the doctor needs to know

You are not feeling ok.  You are not sure what you have or what needs to be done, so you decide to see a doctor.

Photo credit: http://phodyr.deviantart.com/art/11th-Doctor-vs-the-Daleks-209807302

The doctor, like an investigator, or fishing expert needs to know some things in order to form an impression.  These are the usual questions we ask:

What are the symptoms?  There is usually a reason why a person sees a doctor.  Whether it’s a headache, tummy ache, pain, weakness, do let us know so we know what to look for.  Describe the symptoms — for example, if your tummy hurts we’d like to know where exactly and how you would describe the pain.

Of course, there is also the possibility that you just want to make sure everything’s working ok even if you do not feel anything untoward.  That’s also ok, just tell us.

When did the symptoms start?  Did the symptoms start just yesterday?  Or did it start months ago?  A headache that occurred just yesterday may signal something different from a headache that’s been around for weeks.  It would also be helpful to note if there were any prior incidents that would have contributed.  For example, a tummy ache that occurred after eating in a certain restaurant or eye pain after welding.  Any accompanying symptoms too.  For example, tummy ache only, or accompanied by vomiting?  These information are relevant.

What was done to address the symptoms?  Were they effective?  For example, when you had the headache, did you take Paracetamol or another analgesic?  Did the headache go away?  Did you see another doctor before coming to see me?  What was  prescribed?  If you know that you are going to have trouble remembering the medications, bring the prescription and or the medications themselves.

Your medical history — any history of surgeries, accidents, chronic health concerns, maintenance medications?

Your family history?  Many health concerns have a genetic predisposition.  For example, you are at higher risk for hypertension if people in your family have this.

Your personal history?  What’s your current occupation?  Do you smoke or drink?  These could tell us what conditions you are more at risk for.  For example, if you work as a welder and you do not wear eye protection, the stinging pain that you may experiencing may be welder’s keratitis.  We certainly would not think of that condition for somebody who has never done welding or stood close to somebody welding in his life.

Oh, and if the doctor asks you about sex — please don’t get offended.  We are not judging here — it’s not our place.  We just want to rule in or rule out problems that may occur with sex, like a sexually transmitted infection, for instance. So, please don’t hide these stuff from us.

Current medications?  This would give us clues as to your condition.  Do be honest and tell us if you have followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter.  We can then gauge if the treatment has been truly effective or not.  Bring your prescription or samples of your meds if you will have trouble remembering their names.  If you are seeing an ophthalmologist, it helps to bring your current spectacles.

Of course, the doctor needs to do physical examination to arrive at a working impression.  If you had given enough information and clues, there’s a better chance that the doctor would know what to look for and consequently arrive at a more accurate diagnosis so that we would be able to help with your current situation.

Basic Contact Lens Care

Photo: “January 8 - 15, 2011” by Victor Martinez, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved

Although I’m also do online selling on the side, one thing I don’t sell is contact lenses.  That’s because I am well aware of the risks of contact lenses.

Let me qualify that.  I think contact lenses are a great invention, especially for people with high error of refraction.  However, many people who use contact lenses DO NOT know how to manage them.

What’s worse is that there are now people who wear cosmetic contact lenses without bothering to understand how to take care of it.

Some of the things you have to do when you are a contact lens wearer are pretty easy.

  • Don’t share contact lenses.  There are some people — especially those who do not have any error of refraction but simply wear contact lenses to change the color of their eyes– who share their contact lenses with friends in order to save.  This is not like a T-shirt or a blouse that you can lend to other people.  Treat contact lenses like you would treat your intimate wear.  It’s only for the use of one person.  Otherwise, you risk infections.
  • Don’t go to bed with your contact lenses on.  While there are newer contact lenses which are very oxygen permeable AND comfortable, so much so that it doesn’t hurt when you sleep with them, it’s still not a good idea to actually go to bed with them.  Most infections that we see involve people sleeping with their contact lenses on.  So, to be on the side of safety, do remove your contact lenses before you retire for the night and disinfect them well before putting them on in the morning.
  • Have a pair of glasses as backup.  I’m pretty surprised when my patients say that they do not wear glasses and do not even have a backup since they started wearing contact lenses.  What if they lost their contact lenses?  Or for some reason, they can’t wear their contact lenses?  Especially if the vision without correction is really bad.
  • Use your lubricant.  There’s a reason why it’s included in the starter kit.  Contact lens users are prone to dryness, resulting to occasional redness or stinging sensation.

Other tips:

  • After taking out your contact lens from the container that it’s been soaking in, throw away the solution that’s in the container and dry the container.  At the end of the day, you can use the container again with a fresh batch of solution.  Do not reuse the solution, as much as possible.  That’s because the solution may already be contaminated with microbes that may cause problems on your eyes.
  • Try to store your contact lens, the containers and the solution in your bedroom or somewhere else cleaner than the bathroom.  The bathroom is a source of microbes which might infect your contact lenses and accessories.
  • If you get eye irritation or infection, stop using your contact lenses and have yourself checked so that the proper management can be instituted promptly.  This is where your backup eyeglasses will come in handy.
  • Take “contact lens holidays” once in a while. :)
  • Buy your contact lenses from reputable retailers.  Especially those who can teach you to handle them properly.

So there!  Contact lenses are not really bad.  People just need to take care of them (and their eyes) more.  It’s sad that most complications that we get are actually preventable if only proper care were instituted.

Fake meds seized in Pangasinan

We see them everywhere — fakes.  Pirated DVDs, fake designer bags, fancy jewelry.  People buy these mainly because of the price.  Of course, they are cheaper than the original, but of course they lack something — clarity, durability — depends on the item actually.

But one of the worst things that you could fake is medicine.  Because medicines are there to save lives, and fake medicine won’t.  Thank goodness the government has caught some people involved in selling fake medicines:  http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/video/nation/regions/03/08/12/nbi-agents-seize-fake-meds-pangasinan

That’s why I usually buy medicine at reputable drugstores.  That’s because I’m sure the meds I buy are genuine.  And while there are generic meds, I always advise patients to check out the company.  If it’s some fly by night company that nobody has ever heard of, I couldn’t be sure of the quality.

Same goes for owners of drugstores.  It’s best to deal with the supplier or distributor of the meds.  If somebody offers meds at cheaper than direct prices, something may be wrong here.

Saving on medicine is sometimes necessary, but do draw a line somewhere.  If the price for a branded med is too good to be true, it probably is.

Missing posts

http://www.joeymd.com/2010/05/12/modern-tools-for-assisted-mobility/ — found in google cache

http://www.joeymd.com/2010/05/28/the-past-few-weeks/

http://www.joeymd.com/2010/07/07/manager-vs-clinician/

http://www.joeymd.com/2010/07/11/we-should-have-rehab-info-online/

http://www.joeymd.com/2010/07/15/no-power-yesterday/

http://www.joeymd.com/2010/07/18/the-problem-with-multitasking/

http://www.joeymd.com/2010/07/29/a-headache-in-the-pelvis/