Friday, February 25, 2011

Fast forward: the doctor's office in thirty years

Our pediatrician's office is getting a make-over. Well, actually, their filing system is. We were just in for Bernadette's wellness visit, (who is doing fine, thank you for asking), and learned that the office's filing system is going electronic. This means that all medical records, appointment details, and test results will be kept in an online, shared database, making it easy for the staff in our practice to access our girls' medical history during each and every appointment. Every doctor and nurse now carries around a small, portable laptop into which they record everything that transpires while we're in the exam room - questions, comments, statistics, and concerns. It's all there - but it takes awhile.

Of course, this is because we hit the office on Day 2 of the implementation of this new system...so everyone is still getting up to speed. Data that was transferred over from paper is still being verified, so we had to suffer through a short round of questions regarding medical history that I know we've answered in the past. No big deal - it took 10 extra minutes - but it gave me a few extra moments to mull over the questions being asked.

It was your typical stuff - allergies, surgeries, hospitalizations for Bernadette, mom's medical history as well as dad's, and grandparents' medical histories, too. As I was listing the details of my mom and dad's medical history, it dawned on me that one day, Bernadette will be sitting there, in a similar office with her daughter, spouting off details of my medical history (as a grandparent, of course.) And I got to thinking about what she'd have to say.

My hope is that it goes something like this:

Doctor: And your mother's medical history?
Bernie: She has systemic lupus, but she's been symptom-free for years.
Doctor: Really?
Bernie: Yes - she doesn't seem to have trouble with it anymore. She did when she was younger. She even wrote a book about it. Do want to buy a copy for your office?

(I'm just kidding about that last part. Well - not really, but kind of.)

Or it could go something like this:

Doctor: And your mother's medical history?
Bernie: Ummm...she has lupus, I know, but I don't really know how it affects her. I know what lupus is, of course - she's made sure of that - but it's been so long since she's had to deal with it, I'm not sure what all was involved.
Doctor: Well, that's good news.
Bernie: Yeah, I know. She even wrote a book about how she learned to deal with it, about how she was able to get on with her life, have me and my sister, and do just about everything, even though she had this chronic illness. The book is called "Despite Lupus." I can probably even get you a signed copy if you want. I think it's on Amazon, too.

(You knew that was coming.)

Clearly - these kinds of conversations will take place with Deirdre, too. In fact, I'm being interviewed by a company today who is doing research for the development of a new lupus treatment (more on that later, if I'm at liberty to say), and when I told Deirdre that they were coming to the house to talk to Mommy - she said, "They talk to you about lupus?"

Uh, yes, Deirdre. They're going to talk to Mommy about lupus. Two year olds. What are you going to do?

2 comments:

Leslie said...

Sara, thanks for this post. I really needed the positivity right now. I hope that all of us with lupus will be able to say this one day, too.

Sara Gorman said...

I've been thinking about you! Hope you're well - and I agree - here's hoping that a healthy, pain-free future is in store for all of us. Thanks for stopping by!