“I have a form of genetic primary immunodeficiency and several heart issues, among other things. I know that I need to be far more vigilant than someone with a fully armed and operational immune system, so I try to take as much responsibility for that as I can.
First tactic: Not going out at all. I’ve followed doctors’ orders on this one and have only left my home for medical care since March 2020. Most medical appointments have been conducted online for the past year. More than a few conversations with my doctors have included some variation of the phrase “we’ll schedule this when it’s safer.” But some, such as my infusions, imaging, and bloodwork, must be done in person.
Second: I try to get the first appointment in the morning, no matter how early that might be. I’ve been scheduled for MRIs at 6:30 in the morning. Being there early usually means that there are fewer people in the facility.
Third: I ask if there’s an isolated place where I can wait. I’m not trying to cut the line. That needs to be understood. I’ll wait as long as you need me to. ‘Patient’ is both a noun and an adjective. I just need to do that somewhere that is not a crowded waiting room. I have an immune deficiency, I pick up infections a bit more easily than some of your other patients, and we’re in a pandemic.”
Denise Reich is a patient advocate.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “Medical facilities: Please keep your immune-deficient patients safe.”
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Hosted by Kevin Pho, MD, The Podcast by KevinMD shares the stories of the many who intersect with our health care system but are rarely heard from.