We can all agree that healthcare is not perfect. Even with insurance coverage, a trip to the doctor can be expensive. Travel to and from appointments can be time-consuming and costly, especially for someone with a disability.
My wife, Jill, was diagnosed with the Huntington’s gene, just like her father, who passed away in 2011. She has issues about going to the doctor’s office in general, but the trip to the specialist adds an extra layer of anxiety. The trip takes about 1 1/2 hours on a good day. On our last trip, Jill brought up memories of going with her father to his neurology appointments.
She said that it was always hard for him, but as his condition got worse, it became exhausting for whoever took him. By the time she got him to the hospital, she said, he was a mess. His anxiety was through the roof, but they couldn’t really give him medicine for it because it would affect the cognitive tests the neurologist administered. Once, she made a wrong turn, which added five minutes to their trip, and he declared that he could no longer go to the appointment.
Once they arrived at the hospital, there were more complications. Walking from the garage to the hospital along several long corridors to get to the doctor’s office was a challenge because of his frequent twitching. As he got worse, he had to get into a wheelchair the moment he got out of the car. Getting him in and out of the wheelchair was not easy, as he was a large man. It was difficult on him, but also physically hard on Jill and her mother, who were his caregivers.
On the way home from her recent trip to the hospital, Jill said it would be nice if someone would “life hack” healthcare. A life hack is a “simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently,” according to one site.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do the check-in appointments via video call? Imagine being able to talk to doctors without the hassles that come with going to their offices, such as dealing with traffic or finding parking. What if we could make appointments online without the stress of calling during a busy day at work? What if when we do go to the office, we could check in by text and sit at the coffee shop until the doctor is ready for us? What if we got a menu with the costs of visits before we arrive?
I think all of those ideas are wonderful, and one day I hope that healthcare can be what we all need it to be: empathetic and understanding. Until Jill’s life hack dreams become reality, I will make her appointments and drive her to each and every one of them. Sites like those of BioNews Services hopefully will help bring about positive changes by giving a voice to the once powerless.
Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.