Kansas City is a beautiful city full of pleasant and law-abiding residents like Sam. Sam is 41, and he has been working in the local library for over 15 years. He is a very intelligent and diligent man and is greatly appreciated by his friends and co-workers.
Sam’s only problem, as he has been told, is that he is very shy. He sometimes even has trouble ordering food over the phone, complaining about bad service at the hotel (he’d rather go with unchanged towels for 3 days!), or telling someone at the movies to turn off his cell phone.
As the years went by, Sam learned to live with this trait of his. After a while, he didn’t notice it anymore. What didn’t occur to Sam is the impact something so seemingly insignificant was having on his health.
Sam’s medical care
Just like most people in Kansas City, Sam was a patient at a family physician’s office. He was covered by a regular insurance plan. But something hadn’t been right in Sam’s health for a pretty long time! Several times a year he would feel numbness in his right arm and leg and get nauseous at the same time. This would sometimes occur for a couple of days consecutively. It scared Sam.
His doctor ran various tests to figure out the cause. First, they eliminated strokes and any types of brain damage by doing several head CTs and MRIs. Then, they inspected Sam’s spine carefully to see whether a pinched nerve could be the cause. But everything seemed fine. The physician even considered the possibility of a virus, but Sam had no other symptoms!
Sam was advised to exercise and swim more, but these strange attacks kept coming back.
One day Peter, Sam’s colleague at the library, told him about all the advantages of Direct Primary Care (DPC). Peter said that his family physician switched his practice to this new system, and that he was enjoying the change.
There were now fewer patients at the office, Peter got more time with his doctor during his visits and more attention to his problems. The physician was able to personally oversee ordering, reviewing, and lab follow-ups. She even did e-visits and phone visits now!
Sam liked the idea of spending more time with his physician. He thought it would be good if the physician could personally review his scans.
So Sam made a switch from his regular insurance plan to Direct Primary Care. He was amazed at the differences in his office visits! The waiting period and lines were a lot shorter, and he could spend more time with his doctor.
By having more time to talk with his physician Sam was able to feel comfortable sharing more information. It came up that Sam hadn’t been sleeping well and had been under considerable stress before each of his strange attacks. The physician set up an appointment with a neurologist, and during it, they established that Sam had been suffering from migraines with aura!
Migraine auras are unique in that they can occur without a headache or only a little one (that can be mistaken for “being under the weather”), but the aura can be very intense and can include numbness in various body parts, nausea, sensitivity to light and even temporary visual deterioration!
While it is not usually dangerous, it is very frightening. The good news is that now Sam knows what is wrong with him. He was taught how to catch the early symptoms and what to do when he does. He was also given a lot of information on migraine triggers and prevention and is determined to make some lifestyle changes.
The only thing left to say: Sam’s first family doctor was no less qualified than his second physician. The problem was, that under regular insurance regulations, his first doctor was forced to see many patients a day. Sam always saw how many people were behind him in the waiting room, and, being shy and considerate as he was, couldn’t bring himself to start telling stories about his stress and lack of sleep during his short office visits. He didn’t consider it important enough.
He once told this to his MRI technician, because they had plenty of time setting up for the test, but it is not the technician’s position to analyze or transfer this kind of information, and Sam’s physician couldn’t be there that day due to his workload, even though he really wanted to!
So now, Sam is happy that there is nothing terribly wrong with him. He is taking steps to reduce the frequency and intensity of his migraines AND he is excited that he can call his physician or make same- or next-day appointments if something is bothering him. Sam is very grateful to Peter for introducing him to Direct Primary Care!