Have you ever been a patient? Yeah, me too. Many newly insured Americans will visit doctors’ offices this year. The average time you -- or anyone -- has with a primary care provider is 15 minutes. What’s a sick person to do? Happier patients make happier doctors. Here’s a helpful list that I’ve developed to help patient visits go smoother: 1. Pick three questions or concerns that you have for your doctor and write ...

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For years, and especially as he entered his nineties, my father kept begging me not to "dump" him into a nursing home. He had seen too many of his cronies abandoned in this way by family members; his visits with these friends left him feeling depressed and hopeless for days. I assured Dad that I'd never put him in a facility. It was an easy promise to make. I didn't want ...

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shutterstock_227832379 I am one of many people today "living" with cancer. I want to focus on the impact cancer has on my personal finances, and this is probably true for any chronic illness, not just cancer. First, you often have to give up your job. While undergoing chemo, most of us don't have the energy for a full time job. And if you do ...

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shutterstock_239583778 The woman lying on the transport cot in the examination room was terrified. I could see it plainly in her eyes, but there was no time to stop and comfort her. I was a young, recently graduated nurse in a busy urban emergency room, struggling to keep up with its daily array of shootings, stabbings and crises. ER nurses hustled. We dealt with ...

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shutterstock_85837342 I thank God every day that a doctor had the audacity to say to me, “You are going to have to learn to live with this.” I was 21. Newly married. And covered, from head to toe, in a burning, painful, itchy rash. I was sitting on a table, decked in a gown, with my husband in a chair by my side. I was ...

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Well, decision time was here and it looked as if Bill would choose surgery, and why not, with the doctors liberally throwing around the word "cure.'" The various tests Bill endured, breathing tests, echocardiogram and MRI of the brain, were all within tolerable ranges, we were told.  The oncologist noted some marks in the brain that suggested mini-strokes, but Bill didn't hear this or it didn't register with him, or ...

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shutterstock_193162472 November of last year found me living as best I could with several health issues, the most debilitating of which stems from never having recovered from a serious viral infection in 2001. I’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, a little understood and much-misunderstood illness. It keeps me virtually housebound. For the most part, I’ve made peace with feeling sick all ...

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shutterstock_73029814 Ask anyone connected with health care these days to provide a definition for patient engagement and you will likely receive as many answers as there are agendas surrounding the discipline. While patient engagement has evolved as a critical strategy in support of the ultimate goal of creating improved health for a total population, you would think that a mandate for a unified ...

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A version of this speech was delivered May 14, 2015 to the graduating class at the University of Manitoba. I’m not a doctor. I never will be. I’m a lowly journalist. I tell stories.  For almost 30 years, I’ve tried to help Canadians understand their health system and their medical care. In that time, I’ve seen tremendous advances in medicine and I’ve met, quite literally, thousands of health professionals, from students to ...

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shutterstock_252181402 In 2008, at the age of 22, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and began my experience with the American health care system and how to care for myself in it. When I was in the process of diagnosing my illness, I went to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland to meet with an endocrinologist and have my ultrasound results interpreted. ...

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