Quantifying the two hour drive. Maximizing appointments outside of your home city.

Like many, my quest for the best treatment and physician for me means that I am seeking a care outside of my home city and local health network. I have really come to appreciate the care that I receive my drive depending on urban sprawl traffic could be up to 2 hrs each way. It isn’t ideal but I do feel that I am making the best decisions for me. I have had to arrange numerous flex schedules to be able to accommodate appointments and so forth. I have to admit that part is the worst. I always think of the saying “managing your chronic illness is a full time job, on top of your full time job”. When you add drive time, it means taking a whole day away from the office or moving other appointments and meetings to accommodate for travel.

I did not want my trips there to always be about all things medical or respiratory based. I embraced discovering a new city to explore during appointments or discovering what else the city has to offer, then than a world renowned respiratory research centre. I found some very interesting things, there is a bustling arts community, some fabulous locally owned shops, amazing food options (healthy and decadent) a sewing studio where I have spent some time in between appointments, waiting for a scan or trying not to think about the fact that I was withholding inhalers. I spent some time getting to know the city by asking people in the waiting room at the clinic and by following some local food and culture sites. There is a food blogger that lives in that is sublime and I am easily swayed by delicious food pics. I do have to show restraint, as a calories is a calories and daily prednisone is already not kind. While, ever city is different, and has different offerings. It has been a nice find discovery exploring somewhere new and . Best of all, has been meeting some really great people and feeling like I am building a community in this city.

I usually plan appointment days around another little activity in the city, visiting a shop, having a coffee somewhere new, meeting up with a friend that lives in the same city that I do not see as often these days. I try to meet up with them for coffee or a quick pre or post lunch when possible. By planning a little activity or treat, it lets me feel a bit more “human” and less “patient” like. Appointment days can be long, boring, anxiety filled or just plain crummy.

I recently received a request for an in person meeting/appointment that I thought would be a simple email or phone call from my doctor to clarify some test results and next steps. The appointment ended up being incredibly informative and I could see why it was better to have done it in person. However, I do think there is a way to be more efficient with not only physician time, but also patient time.

What things do you do in between appointments or for appointments that are away for your home city? I would love to hear about them.

 

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