What are things to prepare for visits to a respiratory specialist?

On 20170717, it would be my first time [1] bringing papa to see a respiratory specialist at a government hospital at the birth country of both Little Prince and Little Princess, a developed country.

Papa was previously hospitalized for a persistent cough and had four X-ray taken in four days. After he was discharged, he was concerned about the doctor who treated him and the hospital, for later he learned about their profit-making motivation.

Bring along a trusted relative or a close friend to the hospital because it is not always easy to remember everything that the doctors and nurses have said to the patients, as advised by the NHS (see ref2017*/1055d_uk_nhs_chest_clinic_20170717.pdf).

The first appointment may take half a day.

Unless advised otherwise, patients can eat, drink, and take medications as normal.

Prepare for transports by early checking the directions, estimated traveling time, and any public transports to use. For the 20170717 appointment, it would take at least 42 minutes without traffic jam, according to google maps.

Depending on patients’ circumstances, expected procedures at the hospitals:

  • registration
  • chest X-ray(s)
  • breathing test
  • Q&A with the doctors
  • thoracentensis
  • blood tests
  • bronchoscopy
  • computerised tomography scan (CT scan) for the chest
  • other further tests, if necessary
  • arrange for next appointments

General questions to ask:

  1. Are symptoms related to an obstructive lung disease, such as asthma or COPD, or to a restrictive lung disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis or lung cancer?
  2. What is the name of the lung disease you suspect is responsible for causing the respiratory symptoms?
  3. What types of diagnostic tests will be performed to confirm or rule out this diagnosis?
  4. How should we prepare for the diagnostic tests?
  5. How long will the tests take (test duration)?
  6. Will the results of these tests be available immediately?
  7. When will the next appointment be: date & time? Remember to obtain a name card of the physician and an emergency phone number.
  8. Is patient’s lung condition acute or chronic? Is it congenital (hereditary) or related to environment?
  9. Is there a cure for this lung disease?
  10. What complications may develop as a result of my condition?
  11. What will be the course of treatment?
  12. Can my condition be controlled with medication, such as inhalers, cough medicines (e.g., expectorants), or antibiotics?
  13. What are the common side effects of these medications and action plans in case of worsening side effects?
  14. If medication is ineffective, what other treatment options are available?
  15. Are there any complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies that may be used to treat the patient’s condition?
  16. request for a permanent written record of the medical consultation

***

[1] When I was little, Papa used to bring me along for his work. I witnessed how hard Papa and Mama worked. When I was a youth, he drove long distance to a city where I could attend a test to fulfill a dream.

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