Monday, September 19, 2011

Assembling the "A Team"

I had several bad experiences with healthcare professionals assigned to my case: An occupational therapist, a neurologist, and a physical therapist who, though he specialized in neurological conditions, should be rehabilitating buff guys with sports injuries. My progress was simply too slow for him, and I left every session heavy with his disappointment.

Fortunately, previous medical problems taught me I don't have to work with the first provider assigned to my case, that I need to trust my instincts, and that I need to act as my own advocate no matter how much I want to lie down and play the sick patient.

The professionals I choose to work with have several things in common: They listen, they respect my instincts, and they are able to clearly communicate their knowledge to me.

My medical team consists of:
1. Occupational therapist (covered by insurance)
2. Exercise physiologist/chiropractor (not covered)
3. Massage therapist (not covered)
4. Acupuncturist (covered)
5. Doctor of Physical Medicine (covered)
6. Neurologist (covered)

I call the first three my "A Team." Each of them has done as much for my emotional rehabilitation as my physical. In the 21st century, doctors who don't understand the importance of attitude – and their influence over it – should consider an alternative career … pouring cement, perhaps.

I've talked to people who have trouble finding the right health care provider. My advice: Keep looking. A good one makes all the difference.


  1. Great advice, Marcelle! I've had a lot of experience with health care providers whose attitude has worsened my sickness, not cured it. I think cement-pouring is the perfect career for them!

  2. My Ateam consisted of my OT and my wife, a PT, doctors were worthless.

  3. I recently asked for a specific PT because I was so unhappy with the care the other PTs were giving me. I learned to ask for DNM (Do Not Move me to another therapist) when I make appointments. Rehab staff are used to elderly people who are too afraid to speak up.

  4. Being an assertive advocate is super important. I would probably be dead or at least much worse off if I would have laid down for the program. Finding a neurologist that knows anything about my condition has been the most challenging so far...I still need a good one. My condition is rare though. Although I had a stroke mixed in with my "mystery diagnosis"/cavernous angioma. Stroke seems like something they should all know about. Sigh! And yes finding the right people to maximize recovery is critical. I went through quite a few prior to finding my people, which made me a "difficult" patient. Whatever!!