Share information, grow old gracefully
We enjoy sex, it connects us to life, and as this crippling epidemic sweeps across the planet, sex is one of the ways it is spread. Not so easy to deal with the conundrum, but separating things out only makes the problems worse. We are one people, and our survival is in unity – unity of intent, unity of each life, a unified program of care.
Integrated standard of care. Doctor talk for doing it right. Together. Growing older, with blood pressure problems, weakness, sleep troubles, lack of appetite, arthritis, sciatica. Managing Hiv, with its pill regimes, diets, depression. Coping with co-infections like diabetes, HepC, herpes.
One doctor is Primary. If you have a set of specialists for knees, pains, arthritis, heart, depression, liver and Hiv, none of them can do their job without the others. The patient is the connection; function like a connector.
Your pharmacist can help keep a watch for drug incompatibilities and unwanted interactions. They aren't the prescribers, but if one pharmacist sees all your meds come and go, they can raise a flag if something is off. They can also help with compliance strategies and might have ideas if certain meds give indigestion or dry mouth. There are often practical, little fixes for such difficulties. Long-term survivors know: The pharmacist is our friend.
Social support is proven to make a difference is medical effectiveness and survival. From taking pills on time and being able to walk to the park to keeping a connection to life through dark depression, social workers, managers, physical therapists, volunteers, psychologists, even janitors and cooks play important roles. Each is part of a matrix of care.
Patient in charge. At the end, the only person who knows all the important information is the patient. You are the boss; everyone works for you. Care is not just medicines and checkups. Care includes diet, exercise, sleep habits, sex, friendships and activity as well as 'treatments'.
Make your healthcare team explain issues, medicines and treatments in language you understand. Make sure they know what else is going on with you. Tell them if you have perplexing changes in any part of your life – there could be an important link to treatment.
It never hurts to bring the front desk staff a plate of cookies from time to time. They are the unsung heroes of many an office, keeping communication going and watching out for your interests. In keeping everyone informed, working on the same page, they are at the center of the storm.