For those of you that receive my weekly blog post, was the click worth it? The image says it all.
I have to say, I’ve gotten accustomed to patients showing me photos of “private parts,” discharge, blood, etc., but trying to get a view of the vagina via telemedicine in real time is challenging to say the least(LMFAO!)
NO! I have not figured out how to obtain cultures for discharge via telemedicine yet. NO! Still can’t do pap smears virtually. I promise, it’s not for lack of trying 🙂
With everything going on, the social distancing and all, how medicine is being practiced has changed. These days, disposable PPE is worth checking out for most people according to current health experts. It used to be something that only medical practices needed to source. But the situation has changed. In my own practice, I’m not seeing any folks that fall into high risk groups for routine visits. I’m only seeing problem visits along with obstetric patients. Wellness exams have been placed on the back burner until we get “this thing” under control; I’m specifically speaking of annual exams.
I’m doing a lot of telemedicine visits to review results(labs, ultrasounds, etc), for postpartum visits, and to address routine issues such as urinary tract infections, vaginitis, etc. If these things can’t be managed remotely, it may ultimately result in a trip to the office.
I’m working on projecting emotions of comfort, understanding, empathy, sympathy, “I GOT YOU,” with my eyes and tone of voice since my usual tools of hugs, pats on the back, fist bumps, extended hand shakes are currently off the table. This is soooo difficult for someone that leads with her smile; which also, due to the masks, if currently not available for viewing.
In the midst of all of this,
Here are five tips, from an OBGYN’s perspective, to ensure you stay well during this time of social separation:
In most cases you don’t need an office visit for refills. If you are running low on your meds, whether it be for birth control, hormone replacement therapy, etc. Just reach out to your friendly obgyn.
Don’t freak out because you’re late for your papsmear. This is a good time to actually start following the pap smear guidelines which actually DON’T recommend pap smears every year.
If you have a medical concern, reach out to your provider. Even though we’re following social distancing guidelines and limiting patient contact, there are things that require immediate attention; for example: discovering a lump in your breast, postmenopausal bleeding, sudden onset and worsening of pain, etc.
Use telemedicine. It’s a viable option as not every visit requires a trip to the office. Whether it be a discussion about family planning, contraceptive options, hormone replacement therapy, etc, it’s a great way to have a general conversation with your physician. A change of environment; i.e., your office or home, may allow you to feel more comfortable and able to disclose more in your own, private setting.
Take care of YOU! While social distancing has upended a lot of our lives with increased responsibilities of supervising remote learning, having the kids at home full time, checking in on parents, perhaps adjusting to all the extra time around partners/spouses(this isn’t a good thing for everyone), etc; PLEASE make sure you are taking care of YOU! Eating well, finding time to exercise, stealing a moment or two to do something you enjoy doing is important. Besides, you’re worth it.
Hoping this blog post has entertained as well as informed.
Until next time,
Wife, mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.