They’re holding my medicine hostage!

Robert L. Ortiz |

The Southern Ute Drum

Why is it that my doctor always says I need to get bloodwork? If I just saw the doctor for an earache last week, why do I need to make another appointment? I feel fine, so why do I have to see my doctor so often? Why can’t I pick up my prescription?

These are common questions in any medical facility. There are many answers for many different situations, so I’ll break these questions down one-by-one.

1) Why is it that my doctor always says I need to get bloodwork?

Bloodwork, or laboratory tests are a way for your doctor or medical provider to check on the things we can’t see, feel, or hear with a physical examination. There are many tests that can be run for many different illnesses, life stages, and health states. The most common tests are chemistry or metabolic panels, which look at liver and kidney function, and electrolyte balance in the body; complete blood count, which tests for infection, anemia, and certain types of cancer; and lipid panel, which is an evaluation of blood fat and cholesterol and can be used to determine heart risk. Other common tests look at thyroid function, vitamin D level, and urine protein. These can be used to adjust medications, and screen for potential underlying health problems.

2) If I just saw the doctor for an earache last week, why do I need to make another appointment?

Our healthcare providers do their best to care for the whole patient at every visit. While cold, flu, and other infections make us feel “sick”, there are many other things that your medical provider wants to evaluate, and it is best to have a good look when you are well. There are many times that more information is needed, like lab work or other tests, or the provider needs more time to do a more complete evaluation, and give the patient all of the attention needed to address any concerns.

3) I feel fine, so why do I have to see my doctor so often?

Sometimes a follow-up appointment is needed to be sure that an illness is improving. Other times, your medical provider wants to make sure that your health is stable or improving, especially after a medication change. We know that the earlier we take care of new problems, the easier they are to get under control. It is also a good way for you and your medical provider to get to know one another better, and develop a good working relationship.

4) Why can’t I pick up my prescription?

All medications, including herbs and supplements, come with the potential for side effects and toxicity. While your healthcare team, including your pharmacist, does their best to provide the safest and most effective medication for your needs, sometimes a physical exam, lab work, or even an eye exam, are recommended to be sure that any problems are caught early. Some medications are only used for a short period of time, and refills are not necessary. All prescriptions expire a year from when they were written, so a visit to your provider for a new prescription may be needed.

The new year is a great time to take a closer look at your health. Call the Southern Ute Health Center at 970-563-4581, make an appointment to get to know your healthcare team, or to catch up on that wellness visit.

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