November 10, 2014

The Presentations to Another Support Group

It was with much anticipation that a group of us went south to present a program to another group on November 8. Of the nine that wanted to go along, only eight were able to make the trip. When we arrived, they had room for everyone and had four visitors of their own. They were all doctors and wanted to hear our group and the type of presentation we presented.

Dr. Tom did learn that Max would be presenting his on sleep apnea and this was well received by Max. Tim set up his projector and set up the slides for Max and he started off our presentations after introductions. Max first asked how many felt sleepy and caught themselves getting sleepy while driving. When no hands were raised, he asked how many knew they had sleep apnea. One hand went up and Max asked how long age he had been diagnosed. The answer was three years ago.

Max then said he had been diagnosed in mid 2003 and then recognized me. I said I had been diagnosed with sleep apnea in August 2001. Max continued with his presentation and then opened it up for questions. Questions there were, and Max handled them very well. A few questions were directed to me, which I answered. Max concluded by saying that we used nasal mask liners to reduce air leaks and that we used our CPAP equipment every night. That brought a few more questions and Max had Tim put up the last slide with the URL for the mask liners.

Next Sue talked about getting off medications and this generated a lot of questions. Dr. Tom addressed the group and said that he had been reluctant to allow this, but with the way Sue and A.J had presented to our groups, he found that it did work for two of the three that attempted this. The third patient had restarted medications when it did not work and before the blood glucose levels became too elevated. This brought several questions from the other doctors which Sue and Dr. Tom answered.

Allen presented his topic and talked about obtaining VA benefits. Only two were receiving benefits and 12 more were asking questions. Allen outlined the steps to take and this brought out more questions. Allen stated that there were myths that needed to be stopped and this included being members of service organizations such as AMVets or the VFW. Allen stated that only the copies of the service record(s) (Form DD214) were required. This brought a few more questions and then a round of applause when Allen concluded.

At that point Tim introduced my cousin and said she would answer the questions left over from her previous presentation. She started answering the questions and when she finished there were more questions which she was able to answer and the doctor leading the group thanked her for answering the questions and coming back. This produced another round of applause and the doctor asked if she would speak to the group in April or May and she would be given some topic guidelines in time to prepare.

Tim introduced me and I talked about prescription errors. When I asked the doctors how many e-prescribed. Only two doctors did and the other three said they would be in the future. I asked if they were aware of how many errors were make with e-prescribing and how to prevent them. When I got bland stares, I said most mistakes were made by being in the wrong patient file when they sent the email to the pharmacy. I said that the error was not intentional, but happened. One doctor said he is right as he had done this and wondered how the mistake happened. As he was closing out of the file, he noticed the open files and realized that the email had been generated from the prior file opened to e-prescribing.

As I covered several other known causes of prescription errors, there were several questions about prescriptions. Dr. Tom spoke then and explained that I had shown that everyone could make mistakes from doctors to pharmacists. Now I was showing patients how to prevent them from making mistakes. Two people said that they had never had mistakes made and wondered how the mistake could go unnoticed. I commented because we are all human and mistakes happen. Being aware of the different types of mistakes was one way to stop them.

Tim then introduced Barry. Barry started talking about self-monitoring of blood glucose and was bombarded with two questions about obtaining test strips. Barry asked the doctors if they worked with the patients to obtain reimbursement for extra test strips. All doctors said they did for the first six months and occasionally other times when a patient needs extra to manage diabetes when management was slipping. The doctor leading the group said several of his patients were also receiving help from the manufacturers as well.

Barry said this is not unusual and even the group he is part of encourages this. Barry completed his presentation and then asked for questions. Only two questions and he answered them. Tim then opened the floor for other questions. There were questions for Max and Sue and then the questions stopped. The doctor thanked us for coming and said the meeting was over.

Some gathering happened and the doctor leader wanted to talk to Tim, Dr. Tom, and me. He thanked us for coming and was apologetic for the actions of some of his group. He said that some were young know-it-all's and felt they were invincible. Then the other four doctors came in and wanted to talk to us. They had some patients in the support group, but were interested in our group. They said they were aware of my blog and felt that I should follow the ADA closer. I said I would never even though I read what they publish that is not behind the pay wall. I said I was not happy with levels that promoted progression to complication, even if it was slow progression. They did appreciate our making the presentations and felt it was something the group needed. They asked how many members we had and were surprised at the 31 count.

One doctor asked Dr. Tom if he was our leader. Dr. Tom said he was only the consultant and that we had no doctor as a leader. He continued that they do more research and present more programs than any group he has met. Dr. Tom said they have group meetings with four other groups in attendance and are now doing interventions successfully to help people with type 2 diabetes. Dr. Tom stated that we left out the intervention presentation because we did not feel it would be received well.
He motioned A.J to come over and introduced him to the doctors. They thanked him for being ready to present, but felt that we were correct not to have it. A.J said he felt the same, but was disappointed that it was not presented. The doctor leader of the group said that it could have been his fault for having too many topics and everyone seemed restless after the first three.

We agreed and said that is why we only have one topic per meeting. Some have been a little more intense than we wanted, but the outcome has been worth it. Tim asked if they wanted notice of our meetings and topics. If notified early enough we could change our meeting to a room that would hold up to 150 people. At present we are using a room that will hold about 105 people. Tim did receive email addresses for all the doctors and thanked them. Tim assured them that we do change dates when the roads and streets get bad in the winter. At that point we took our leave.

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