As the Managing Editor here in Liberty HealthShare's Communications department, I spend my days writing blog posts, compiling our monthly newsletter, composing posts for our social media accounts, and editing written content. Throughout my professional life, I've dreamed of writing for a living, so this job is a lot of fun for me. As with all jobs, there is some stress associated with my work, but I manage just fine. I've learned that not all stress is a bad thing, especially if you're able to handle it and allow it to motivate you. Once in a while, though, the balance tips too far, and it's usually then that I get sick.
In early March, I got married. The stress of wedding planning would have been manageable on its own, but with the added strain of a move and beginning a new job here at Liberty, I was pretty depleted. Add to that the fact that I am a stress eater who prefers cheese and coffee to salads and water, and I created the perfect storm for illness to take me down.
About three weeks before the wedding, I woke up feeling miserable. Years ago, I suffered from chronic sinus infections and based on my symptoms that morning, I had more than a sneaking suspicion that I had come down with one. In no condition to go to work, I stayed home, but I also struggled with deciding what I should do. Because I'm new to my area, I didn't yet have a physician. Even if I was able to find one, I didn't know if I would have to wait a day or more for an appointment. I decided to hold off for one day to see if I improved at all, but I knew the likelihood of that was slim.
The next morning, I was even worse. In my experience, the only way out of a sinus infection is with a course of antibiotics, especially when I'm stressed and exhausted. I knew I had to make a decision about seeing a doctor. That's when I remembered writing a blog post in December about Liberty HealthShare's partnership with VideoMedicine, a telemedicine company. The concept of seeing a doctor from the comfort of my home sounded great, especially because I was pretty sure my symptoms would be simple to describe without needing to be in the room with a provider.
I followed the instructions to download the VideoMedicine app to my phone and created a profile that designated me as a Liberty HealthShare member. The app was simple and easy to navigate. I was able to contact a provider who is licensed in my state, and then all I had to do was wait for him to tell me when he would be available to see me. We scheduled a visit later that afternoon, and when the time came, I started a secure video call with him. If you have ever used FaceTime or Skype, VideoMedicine is just like those platforms. Not only could we hear one another, but we could see one another through our phone's cameras. We talked through my symptoms and my medical history, and Dr. Gray was able to get a full picture of my condition and make an educated diagnosis.
At the end of my first visit, we agreed I would start using a few over-the-counter meds that would mitigate the sinus symptoms I was experiencing in hopes that I would not need an antibiotic. I appreciated Dr. Gray's desire to avoid prescribing antibiotics unless I absolutely needed them, not only because of cost but also because I have been improperly prescribed antibiotics for illnesses that didn't warrant that kind of treatment. Ultimately, I had to reach back out to Dr. Gray because I continued to get worse after our first visit, but he was quick to observe I truly was worse, and he prescribed the best and most affordable antibiotic for me right away.
Dr. Gray took his time with me, explaining the "why" behind my illness and his treatment choices. In addition to prescribing the necessary treatment, he also gave me advice for managing my health in the future. Thanks to his extra care, I will be set up for success the next time illness threatens to take me down. Within 48 hours of starting antibiotics, I was significantly improved, and by the time my wedding and honeymoon rolled around, I was completely healthy. As you can see in the photo, I was downright blissful.
photo credit: Katie Ulrich Photo
What stuck out to me most about my experience with both VideoMedicine and Dr. Gray was the easy access I had to care. I would never abuse this service since my medical costs are being supported by my fellow members' dollars, but when used responsibly, I can say there is a lot of peace of mind to be found in knowing I can access a doctor when I need one. Both visits through the VideoMedicine app were a pleasure from start to finish, and I recommend it to any Liberty HealthShare member who will responsibly use this resource to manage their health.
To learn more about how VideoMedicine and Liberty HealthShare work together, read our previous blog post, and to download the VideoMedicine app, click below:
Click to download the Telehealth app