Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Tampa General Hospital – Part 1
Posted Aug 21 2010 12:00am
I’ve never really talked about going to the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Tampa General Hospital, so here is Part 1 of my clinic visits.
Growing up in Northwest Ohio, my home clinic was in Toledo, which was a 40 minute drive for us up I-75. I remember that we always had two to four CF doctors in the program, we would often wait for 2-3 hours to get seen by a doctor, and by the time we got out, I was passing out and needed my Taco Bell lunch treat or I’d die. They liked to put me in the hospital a lot and I never, ever had a private room.
Times have changed, my friends. The doctors have gotten smarter and I’ve gotten way, way smarter now that I’m in control of my heathcare with Beautiful as the executor of my dosages. After I start my tale about yesterday’s clinic visit, I’ve got some tips about clinic that you should have to pay me for, so keep reading.
We pulled up to the valet service right at 6:50 for my 7:00 appointment (7:20, really) and informed “the new guy” that we were going up to Harborside 300, which is code for “I get to park for free, so give me the blue ticket.” CFers and transplant patients get free valet service because the parking garage really takes a toll on you – I know, because I was using the garage and getting a voucher when I was in my 20%s and should have been using the valet. Now I know.
The waiting room was barren, as normal at that time. I rarely see any other patients before I’m all the way back to wait for the doctors and Sue to arrive, so I don’t even bother with a mask unless someone freaks out, which has only happened once. That early in the morning, it’s a quick stop at the scale, off to the CF waiting room for about 2 minutes (I don’t even bother sitting down) and then across the hall to vitals where I tell them my blood sugar, they take my blood pressure, temperature, and O2 sats.
The next thing I know, Bill the RT is there to take me to do my PFT. Our system is just a crash cart with a laptop and the spirometer setup with an inkjet printer down below to print the results. It’s worked for years and years in different rooms and buildings. Yesterday, it appeared to have found a more permanent home in a room with a full-blown glass cabinet system. I get 3 blows with a nose clip and can blow however I like, so long as its consistent every time and every visit. I do the standing up and blow your brains out method after a few big huffs like divers do before going under for a couple of minutes. I always feel like I could blow better at home in the evening, but at least my appointments keep my stats stable through consistency in the time of day and which treatments I’ve had by that time.
I don’t know what happened to Dr. Rolfe’s and Dr. Haddad’s schedules, but they are always on time in the morning now, which is awesome for me. I wish it was that way when I was always missing work to be there, but now that I earn so much more per hour working for myself, I don’t mind it now, either. We even made the first 10 minutes of my exam a business meeting since I’m wrapping up a website project for their medical group and scheduled a meeting with the board of their transplant group for a makeover on their site. I hope that gets me a nice room if I ever need a transplant. One with a view, at least, – shrubberies – and a path, a path! Sorry if you’re not a Monty Python fan; my prayers are with you until you see “Holy Grail” to know what I’m referring to.
Straighten up or you won’t be eligible for a transplant if the day comes that you need it because the doctors won’t sign off that you will take care of your new lungs any more than you took care of the ones you were born with.
Being compliant has its benefits, too. Try it, if you don’t believe me. Compare your care when you’re a punk who won’t do your meds and come in with low stats and a declining lifeforce and see how interested they are in helping you if you won’t help yourself. On the other hand, you can be like Fatboy and do everything they ask, be proactive and look for new ways to help yourself and the CF community, and see how receptive your doctors become to improving your life instead of just seeing how things go on their own and being reactive with regard to fighting the quarterly infections that put you on IVs. Hey, I’ve been there, so you can’t say I’m talking down. Straighten up or you won’t be eligible for a transplant if the day comes that you need it because the doctors won’t sign off that you will take care of your new lungs any more than you took care of the ones you were born with.
If you are in Tampa and take my appointment time on a day I have my appointment, I’ll come kick your shins, so you’ve been warned. Otherwise, feel free to take these tips for getting in and out fast.
Get the first appointment of the day – even if you don’t get the first appointment time, beat the first appointment person to the clinic and you will likely be seen first because doctors’ offices have a tendency to take people in the order of arrival time (ever notice how most sign-in sheets have an arrival and appointment time box?) because they have already started your paperwork since you’re there already.
Do your blood sugar test at home and eat – unless your clinic won’t let you do that, you’ll feel way better going to clinic on a full stomach than starving to death, be in a better mood, and speed up your visit if you are like how I used to be and need to run down to McDonald’s after my sugar reading so I could function.
Dress according to your clinic’s procedures – if they make you take off your shoes for height and/or weight, wear easy to get on/off footwear; wear stretchy pants if they put you in gowns; definitely wear short sleeves because you know they are going to do blood pressure and have a 50/50 chance of drawing blood for some reason.