What’s your “plan B” when your doc is out of office?

My allergy/asthma doc only works 3 days a week. When he's in, he's usually really great about finding work in appointments or even just addressing things via email/portal. Oh and my PCP is out on Fridays too! 

Of course this week, I got sick on his off day! I'd ramped up my sick plan already. I was at the "call" part of my plan! There are other docs in the office and I've seen some others on occasion. But I know I'm complicated and don't follow the usual playbook.

I messaged anyway because sometimes he pops in on his off days anyway. I got a response from the nurse asking if I wanted another doc to respond. I said yes and another doc worked me in yesterday. I figured he was going to tell me it was viral and send me on my way. By the numbers, I looked pretty good. But he was actually great! Listened, had read my file, didn't want to reinvent the wheel. Started antibiotics right away and left the pred start up to me. 

I was very glad to not be heading into a weekend without a plan besides urgent care if things really went south!

With asthma, things can go from ok to bad to worse quickly. It's critical to have a plan…and a plan B! I'm really happy that I now feel comfortable with at least one other doc in the practice. 

Do you have a plan B? Or C? What do you do when the doc who knows you us out? 


Comments 11

  • Kathy P

    And my own doc checked in me this morning through the portal. Not sure if he might be on call this weekend, but he read the other doc's notes. We sorted out a plan for the pred vs broken wrist, so that's good. I didn't even think to ask about that yesterday in the office since I was feeling so cruddy. 

  • dory2005

    My pulmonary dr.'s practice has quite a few nurse practitioners, in addition to the MD's, and over the last two years, I've seen quite a few of them. In fact, I saw several of the NP's and PA's from the practice while I was in the hospital, so I feel comfortable calling the on call dr. if I get really sick on the weekend.

    Typically, we go with an increase in prednisone/neb treatments, but most times, if it is during the week, I can get in with one of the NP's that is familiar with my history, and she/he will confer with my regular pulmonary or one of the other drs.

    Ironically, my original pulmonary doctor that I saw (for over 20 years) referred me to another doctor (asthma specialist) in the same practice because my asthma became more severe, and I wasn't really getting any better. I had a really hard time changing drs, but it was the best thing for me. Change can be hard, but the more drs in a practice who are familiar with your medical history, the better.

    I hope you feel better!!

  • Melissa G

    Glad to hear the other dr read your chart and the appt went well. Depending on the specialist, is how we deal with plan B. If I can't get a hold of any of Rebekah's actual specialists, then I call our ped. I have her cell number. 

  • Pljohns

    Unfortunately  at the moment-I have no plan A or B if I get sick.  I guess plan A is to call the pulmo-he doesn't do portal messages-he is the only one that is still old school and won't even do EMR-everyone else in his practice does, but not him-so the oly way to get a message to him is call the office and leave a message.  Unfortunately the only time I've done this, he was out of the office and no one else looked at the message so I went almost 4 days (I called on Fri and I called back on monday) without anyone even calling.  I talked to the administrator of the practice and she said they do have a system in place that if the doc you use is out, someone else handles his messages but "mine must have just been over looked".  So….I don't trust their system.  

    I guess the plan B is my PCP (until Aug when his office closes) but the problem is  that I have to tell him what I want/need because he has no idea how to deal with my asthma.  

    I guess I'm sort of just hanging out with no plan and no where to really get any help at the moment.  I'm having to do it myself sort of-

  • Kathy P

    Ugh on the lost message! Yeah my plan b is usually my PCP who will ask "what would Dr. R do"?? But she's out on Friday too. I've seen other docs in her group, but mainly for injury or something not allergy/asthma/respiratory related. I knew waiting til Monday was not an option!

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs, Lynn … finding another doc is hard. I realized that my secret weapon was nurses — I tapped into the network of nurses and got a great referral by word of mouth years ago when my old primary care doc retired. That was hard because this had been the guy who had taken care of our family for years — from the time I was very small until I was married. 

    Later on, after that next primary care physician got so busy that it was hard to get an appointment, I wound up starting with a new "fresh-out-of-residency" doc who'd moved back to her hometown. I was kind of nervous about it because I'd always had older, more experienced docs. But she was great! She knew all the latest stuff and really got me on a more solid footing with my asthma. It helped that I was one of her first patients … come to think of it, I was one of my eye doc's first patients, too. The only downside is that when I come in for a visit, unless I'm absolutely dog-sick, they want to talk too long! I feel guilty for keeping other patients waiting!

  • Pljohns

    Finding the right doc is definitely what it's all about-no matter how you go about it, that's the end result.  I've had really good ones but they have either moved out of state or changed specialties so I'm sort of stuck right now with so-so and no primary at all right now (doc next door is good "sick call" doc but not so much as a PCP).  I'm afraid to hope that the doc I have appt with the end of July for my PCP will be good-everything I hear is good about her but I'm afraid to hope.  Now, if I could just find a good pulmo.

  • Kathy P

    Hugs Lynn – it's so hard to find a doc that really clicks! And specialists even more so!

    I just got a call from the doc I saw last Friday to check on me! Wow! He was reading my exchange w/ my regular doc. Might need another round of antibiotics and he'll be around later in the week when regular doc isn't to be able to help if needed.

    My regular doc had suggested a while back that I needed to "branch out" and see other docs in the practice. I had been so nervous to because of not the best experiences before when I had. But I'm liking this doc and he seems to have a similar personality to regular doc! So, I now have plan B!