Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In Which Connor Goes To The Cardiologist

Connor had his four year cardiology appointment this morning.  He has an extremely rare heart defect called Left Ventricular Noncompaction Syndrome, and so he has appointments every six months to check and see how things look in there.  We also usually go in before trips where we'll be out of state for over a week, or before major medical procedures.  So we drove down to the on-post hospital to see how he's doing.

The doctor always does a cardiac ECHO on his heart to check the function.  Connor thinks the sonogram wand tickles, so he grinned and giggled through the whole thing.  Then we went upstairs and got an EKG done, which the little guy was very calm and patient through.  He's had this sort of thing done so many times that as long as you aren't rubbing alcohol pads on him or tying a rubber tourniquet somewhere (he knows what both of those mean) he won't get upset at all.

Things look great!  Connor's heart is functioning at a normal level and his doctor said he looks very stable.  Those are always great words to hear.  Unfortunately we also found out that our doctor (who is fantastic) is retiring very soon.  So by the time Connor needs to come in again, he'll have a new doctor. 

This is a problem we're starting to run into with Connor's doctors and specialists.  The doctors in the army, just like nearly everyone else in the service, are moved from post to post every few years.  Most of the time this isn't a problem because their patients are also moving from place to place.  However, because Connor has so many medical issues, we are pretty much settled since there are so few posts that have all the specialists and resources he needs.  We've been in the Pacific Northwest long enough now that Connor's doctors are moving on.

Our cardiologist wasn't really excited about the idea of us being assigned to a doctor he didn't know since Connor is such an unusual case.  So he is referring us to a civilian doctor he knows well and trusts who works at a local clinic.  This has already happened with a couple of Connor's other specialists.  Very slowly our care is transitioning to the surrounding community rather than the military. 

This poses some interesting logistical problems.  For example; the pharmacy at the military hospital dispenses Connor's medications at no cost to us.  However, the prescriptions for these medications must be written out by a doctor who works at the military hospital.  So if Connor's neurologist (who is in a civilian hospital) prescribes us a medication and I don't want to pay for it out of pocket, I have to have Connor's pediatrician (who is at the military hospital) represcribe it.  Orders for some other referrals and equipment have to be done the same way.  What this means is that while we can go to the civilian hospitals for specialists, our primary care manager must always be at the military hospital. 

So it's a little more work for me, but the continuity of care is totally worth it.  And I'm so glad Connor is doing well!



Kristin said...

What an Awesome report! yay Connor!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Great news! Don't you just love these kind of reports?

Julia said...

Good news to start the morning! And I'm glad he'll be able to continue getting high-quality care. I guess one of the perks of being associated with the military is that people do what they're supposed to do -- if this is the policy, they follow it. In the civilian health care world, nobody wants to pay for anything, so you get a huge run around every time you need the smallest thing. Well, we've been pretty fortunate (mostly), but some people have nothing but one frustrating battle after another. (We've only had a couple of skirmishes.)

Gina said...

Great report!!

Double check on the prescription rules though...we're a military family (retired) as well and I've always been able to get our prescriptions filled on post, no matter who wrote it. This was the case even when my husband was active duty and not retired.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Good news! And in spite of the hassle (of having things re-prescribed), if he's getting good care that you're happy with...


Hurray for "stable" and I wish you many boring days... at least, boring in the medical sense.


Katy said...

Great news!

After taking a gander at Charlie's medical record, our base IMMEDIATELY transferred his entire case to the local children's hospital. We did have to pay out of pocket for the prescriptions, but since Charlie has so few, it wasn't an issue.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the healthy report! I am confused by the prescription thing though. We are USAF and my son has seen multiple specialists and had numerous prescriptions written by his civilian specialists most of which I hand carry to our base pharmacy and get filled for free. The only time I have paid for his meds were when the medicine was too special to be carried by the base pharmacy; if they don't have it I take the same prescription slip to a civilian pharmacy to get it filled for $3, $9 or $22 based on the tier it is in. Is it THAT different between Army & Air Force?? We will be there soon, so I hope it works out.

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