My Friday morning started early at 7 a.m. with a text message from one of my patients that read, “I NEED YOUR HELP.” I immediately called her to find out what was wrong. She informed me that she had been “passing blood” for two weeks. The patient called her PCP to schedule an appointment, but was told that she would have to wait at least two weeks to be seen.
“Having a plan and you as my care navigator makes me much less anxious.”
Diabetes, chronic knee pain, COPD, obesity
This patient is one of my first since joining Engooden. We work on blood pressure management, diabetes education, and weight-loss. Due to chronic knee pain, the patient is motivated to lose weight so she can become eligible for knee replacement surgery. She suffers from COPD, so we work together to prevent any exacerbations. After some hesitation, I also convinced her to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Waking up to that text worried me. Once we were on the phone, she told me she only reached out because the bleeding was getting worse, and she had no luck getting in to see her PCP. After asking more questions, I called the patient’s primary care office. Their call center representative mentioned to me, much like the patient, that there were no same-day appointments available. I asked to speak with someone from the patient’s doctor’s practice, and after explaining the symptoms to a nurse, they arranged for her to come in as soon as possible.
The patient called me after her appointment. Her PCP was thankful that she was seen as she had lost six pounds. We developed a plan for her to stay well hydrated, eat iron-rich foods, watch for symptoms of hypotension, check blood pressure regularly, and discussed which scenarios required immediate medical attention. I also educated her on the imaging procedures she was scheduled to go through the following week.
While her imaging results were not too concerning, lack of communication from her practice induced more anxiety. She was unable to reach anyone who could provide her with an update on the status of her ultrasounds. I intervened by calling the practice to locate her results and put her mind at ease. She told me, “Without your help, I would have been worried sick. Having a plan and you as my Care Navigator makes me much less anxious.”