miss diagnosis


V.21 No.48 | 11/29/2012
Miss D

Miss Diagnosis

Know Thy Virus

How to avoid a snot-filled winter

From nurse columnist Whitny Doyle’s perch at a busy primary care clinic, the waning daylight is an ominous harbinger of abundant infectious nastiness. Here’s how to prevent illness or know what you’ve caught.
V.21 No.23 | 6/7/2012

Miss Diagnosis

“We’re Both Dad”

Health care’s LGBT blind spot

Considering all our nurse columnist has witnessed in her career—dramatic resuscitations and miraculous recoveries included—it’s a little funny that teaching a couple of dudes how to wipe a baby butt stands out as one of her proudest moments. But she met baby Melanie and her two dads years before "Modern Family" would air on prime time and the president would finally evolve enough to voice his support of gay marriage.
V.21 No.12 | 3/22/2012
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

health

New patients 101

This week’s feature examines First Choice Healthcare, celebrating its 40th year of helping underserved areas throughout the state stay in tip-top shape. But while First Choice is accepting new patients, Michelle Melendez says that appointments and routine visits are difficult to schedule right away. Most folks wait several weeks. Here’s a checklist of things to do during that time to ensure your visit runs smoothly.

• If you have insurance, check with them to see if First Choice is in your network. Double-check your policy’s co-pay and deductible. Call and ask how much it’ll cost you if you need lab work or X-rays. That way you have an idea of how much you’ll be paying out of pocket.

• If you don’t have insurance, gather any documents you might need for financial assistance. This might include tax returns, W2 and 1099 forms, pay stubs, bank statements, proof of residence (utility bills), identification documents (social security card, birth certificates, etc.), picture ID (driver’s license), daycare documents, and documents from any other financial assistance or insurance programs you’re enrolled in. Make a file for you, your spouse and your kids.

• Gather a family medical history. Your provider wants to know about the health status of first-degree relatives (parents, siblings and children) as well as any conditions that affect multiple extended family members (for example, if you have three cousins and an aunt affected by lupus).

• Gather your own health history. This includes past diagnoses, current diagnoses, previous surgeries or injuries, immunization status, current medications (including herbs and supplements), and allergy history.

• Be prepared to discuss some personal social issues. Your provider may want to know who you sleep with, if you smoke or drink or use drugs, if you exercise, what your diet is like, where you work, how things are going at home, and if you feel safe and happy. These questions can be uncomfortable but they are not meant to judge. They’re to help your provider select the labs, treatments or referrals you need.

• If a particular symptom is bothering you, keep a diary of that symptom until your appointment. For example, if you have bothersome headaches, write down when they happen, how bad they are, if you have other symptoms, how long they last, what you do to make them go away and what you were doing prior to the headache.

• Make a list of your medications (name of drug, dose, how often you take it), or just toss all your medication bottles in a brown paper bag and bring them with you to your appointment.

• Make a list of every single question or issue you’d like to address during the visit. Now number the first, second and third most important things to you on that list. You need to know your priorities going into that visit. Given time constraints, lesser priorities may have to be addressed at follow-up visits.

• Plan on wearing loose-fitting clothing that’s easily removed. I can’t tell you how many tripled-layer wool turtlenecks, high-waisted skintight pleather pants, and knee-high lace up boots I’ve wasted valuable time wrestling with during the physical exam.

• You may need to authorize your previous health care providers to release your medical records.

• If you have copies of any previous lab or test results, heck, bring ’em with you.

• Try to arrive about 15 minutes early for your visit. I always bring a girlie magazine to flip through or a novel to read in case the clinic is running behind.

•  Answering calls or texting during your visit will slow things down. Let your peeps know you’ve got an important meeting beforehand so they don’t start blowing up your cell phone once you’re in the room with the doctor.

Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Feature

A Picture of Health

At 40 years young, First Choice’s network of community clinics is in tip-top shape

Most 40-year-olds are done growing. But First Choice Community Healthcare—a network of nine clinics across three counties in underserved areas—is more like a gangly teenager at the peak of his growth spurt. “We’ve outgrown our space,” says Patient Services Director Michelle Melendez.
V.20 No.48 | 12/1/2011

Feature

A Miraculous Rebirth?

Program for expectant mothers fights for second chances, including its own

Casita de Milagros, New Mexico’s only residential treatment center for pregnant women battling addiction, closed this summer. Thanks to community outcry, the facility might soon be resuscitated. But Milagros’ advocates are discovering that the devil is in the details.

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V.20 No.32 | 8/11/2011

Miss Diagnosis

Prevention Goes Girlie

Free birth control and other big bonuses

Free birth control was rolled into the country’s coming health care reform at the beginning of August. Yet the suggestion that women ought to have access to preventive measures predictably outraged people who confuse contraception with abortion.
V.20 No.27 | 7/7/2011

You Are Going Down

Alibi contributors pick up 2011 AltWeekly Awards!

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies announced the winners of its nationwide alt.weekly journalism contest—and three Alibi contributors locked down four awards! Here’s how they did:

Best Food Writing (circulation under 50,000): Alibi restaurant critic and food columnist Ari LeVaux swallowed up third place. (“Le Fooding,” “An Offal Story” and “Chewing the Fat.”)

Best Column (circulation under 50,000): Our Miss Diagnosis column, penned by family nurse practitioner Whitny Doyle, took a healthy third place. (“Seduction of a Nurse,” “Robbins Burns Rubbers” and “Life and Death on the Night Shift.”)

• Cover Design (circulation under 50,000): Alibi graphic designer Jeff Drew hit the contest’s zenith with a first-place cover he did for Vermont’s Seven Days.

Illustration (circulation under 50,000): Jeff also picked up third place for artwork in the Pacific Northwest Inlander.

Well done and congratulations!

You Are Going Down

Three Alibi contributors pick up 2011 AltWeekly Awards nominations!

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies runs a notoriously tough, nationwide alt.weekly journalism contest—and the Alibi is kicking some unprecedented ass in it. This year, more than 88 publications submitted their very best stuff in design and writing categories. Here’s how Albuquerque is representing:

• Alibi restaurant critic and food columnist Ari LeVaux is one of four finalists duking it out for Best Food Writing, circulation under 50,000. (The three stories we submitted: “Le Fooding,” “An Offal Story” and “Chewing the Fat.”) Masticate the competition, Ari!

• Registered nurse and recent UNM family nurse practitioner program graduate Whitny Doyle writes our Miss Diagnosis column. She’s been selected as a finalist for Best Column, circulation under 50,000. (The articles we submitted: “Seduction of a Nurse,” “Robbins Burns Rubbers” and “Life and Death on the Night Shift.”) Draw some blood out there, you phlebotomist!

• Last but not least, Alibi graphic designer Jeff Drew is up for awards in two distinct categories. His cover for Vermont’s Seven Days and illustrations for the Pacific Northwest Inlander are both heavy contenders. Render those other fools into a vanishing point of pain, you X-ACTO knife-wielding art-school murderer!

V.20 No.22 | 6/2/2011

Miss Diagnosis

The Miracle of Treatment

Medicaid axes inpatient program for drug-addicted mothers

The state's only residential substance abuse treatment clinic for pregnant women, Casita de Milagros, will be closing on July 1. During columnist Whitny Doyle’s time as a mother-baby nurse, she cared for many Milagro patients. She also cared for substance-abusing mothers whose addictions remained untreated.
V.20 No.14 | 4/7/2011

Miss Diagnosis

The Slow Burn

For those of us trapped in the 8-to-5 grind, there is nothing more luxurious than sleeping in on Saturday morning and awakening to the twittering birds and the clear sunlight filtering through the window. Pure bliss, right?

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V.20 No.7 | 2/17/2011

Miss Diagnosis

Get Your Hands off My Health Care Reform

Health reform opponents say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional and expensive. Miss Diagnosis says they're wrong.
V.20 No.2 | 1/13/2011

Feature

Intelligent Life

Experts share their best advice for more money, good health and a bigger brain

It’s tough out there. Our bank accounts are never as flush as we'd like. Our waistlines won't stay put. And, let's be honest, don't we all wish we were just a little bit smarter?

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V.19 No.50 | 12/16/2010

Miss Diagnosis

Germicidal Tendencies

The sore throat starts on Monday. Tuesday adds a headache and congestion. On Wednesday, you ask to leave work after almost hacking up your lungs onto a client, but your boss is being uptight. So you tough it out and go home exhausted, skipping dinner and falling into bed. You feel a little better on Thursday, so off to work you go. But by Thursday night, you feel like the victim of a hit-and-run. So you call the doctor early Friday. She can squeeze you in that afternoon. You ask your boss if you can leave early for a doctor’s appointment. He gives you a disapproving look like you’re a naughty 4-year-old, informing you that he’ll need to see a doctor’s note.

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V.19 No.44 | 11/4/2010

Miss Diagnosis

Insulin Shock

Some diseases, like people, just have a special “it” factor that captures the imagination of the public. For instance, Ebola erupted on the scene with unprecedented dramatic flair. The virus achieved fame by learning to demolish the inner layer of human blood vessels. This little trick causes hemorrhagic death grisly enough to put all those horror-movie faux grotesqueries to shame. Or consider the case of last year’s media darling, the dreaded H1N1 “swine” flu. Like a sadistic serial killer with major mommy issues, this disease made a name for itself by killing off children and pregnant women faster than you could say “front page news.”

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V.19 No.39 | 9/30/2010

Miss Diagnosis

Robbins Burns Rubbers

Will APS roll out a new sexual health policy?

[Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.]

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