Co-Mingling Your Healthcare Is Almost as Important as Joint Banking for Future Brides and Grooms

Well, hello there everybody!

It’s been almost two months since I’ve blogged and I owe everybody an explanation.  At least I have an excellent excuse.  My husband Bill was sick and he had to leave the island for awhile for medical treatment.  He spent six thrilling weeks in the hospital, and I spent five of them with him, sleeping in a chair beside his bed.  Just for the record — this is exactly what they mean in your vows when they have you promise “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.”  In the past two months, I’ve experienced better and worse too many times to count, sickness and bad times.  This has been a heck of a lesson about appreciating the ones you love, and telling them how much you love them all of the time.  And it’s been a lesson in patience and diligence and a whole lot of other things.  But at the end of the day, the good news is that Bill is getting better!  Modern medicine is winning and the doctors at Georgetown University Hospital are brilliant.  He’s out of the hospital and on the mend, and I have abandoned his butt to return to Vieques for a wedding next week.  I’ll be bouncing back and forth between DC and Vieques for the time being while Bill fully recuperates, but we did that the first year we were in business anyway, so this will be cake!  And I’ll be racking up the frequent flyer miles 🙂 and keeping my killer tan well fed.  Anyway, I will try to start blogging on a regular basis again now that Bill is better and I’m not trying to be a part-time nurse, full-time wedding planner.  I’m going to start today with a brief blog on an important topic that most of you wouldn’t consider something you’d hear about from your wedding planner.  Of course, not everybody is lucky enough to have me (or Weddings in Vieques) as their wedding planner!  Let’s talk about healthcare management for the future bride and groom.  You’re probably living together already, you may have purchased some things (big and small) together, you’re starting to co-mingle your finances, but have you been to the doctor with each other yet???

When you get married, you’re supposed to know everything about each other.  Yet I’m amazed by the number of couples who don’t even know who each other’s primary care physicians are!  This is a subject that comes up when we’re talking about lab tests for a marriage license, and it’s very interesting to hear what different couples have to say on the subject.  What surprises me most is how many couples do not share the same physician, or have never met their future spouse’s doctor.  This is one of those big steps you need to take together — it’s right up there with opening up a joint bank account.

If you both have good primary care physicians and like your doctors, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your own doctor.  But when you go for your annual physical, and as frequently as possible for other doctor’s appointments, you should make every effort to go to the doctor together.  On most occasions, the spouse actually hears more details than the actual patient, especially when a doctor gives unsettling news.  For example, when a patient hears the word “biopsy,” their brain tends to freeze there.  It’s good to have another set of ears — ears not attached to the body under discussion, so to speak — to help take in difficult information and share medical information about the patient with the doctor.  What do I mean by that second remark?  What I mean is that I have busted Bill out to his doctor on more than one occasion, for not taking medicine, for not showing the doctor something he should, for not mentioning an ache or pain that’s been bothering him.  And likewise, the doctor has told each of us at different times to be alert to something specific about one another.  For example, our doctor once warned Bill to watch out for me because I have a very, very high threshold for pain.  He was saying that if I claim to be in a lot of pain, it’s probably a lot more pain than the average person would tolerate before going to a doctor or the emergency room.  It’s something to watch out for and has been problematic in the past because I have a tendancy to let problems get bad before I seek treatment because I can suck it up and ignore something that hurts.  That’s not always a good thing.  It was a good thing when I played in the 8th grade basketball championship game with a broken ankle after my coach taped it up for me, but it was a bad thing when I passed kidney stones a couple of times at 3 am after experiencing what I would consider to be “discomfort” for a few days.

Bill and I have the same doctor.  We have since we moved in together.  I needed a new doc because mine was moving, and he said he really liked his.  So I went to his doctor.  And we’ve been using the same doc ever since.  We’ve actually switched doctor’s twice now over a period of years, but we’ve switched together on each occasion.  We go with each other to appointments as much as possible.  And it is possible, you just have to think ahead and schedule appointments together.  Start out by going for a physical together — you know you’re both due for one!  And then you can schedule follow up visits together before leaving the doctor’s office.

Why is this so important?  Because a lot of the time, one half of a married couple will hide something medical from their better half because they don’t want to worry him or her.  Sometimes a condition, especially one that frightens the person it’s affecting, will go untreated for a period of time because he or she is afraid to tell the spouse.  Telling him or her would make it real.  And delaying treatment for that kind of reason can be deadly.  If you go to important doctor’s appointments with each other, that sort of thing just can’t happen.  There are no secrets.  You don’t have to have your husband in the room when the gynocologist busts out the speculum, but it’s okay to have him in there before and after that part.  It’s a good idea to include him in discussions about birth control or fertility.  And it’s definitely good to have your doctor explain to your spouse what to look for as far as lumps go when he’s touching your breasts.  As a general rule, he’s more interested in them than you are, and he’s likely to be the first one to notice any changes.  Ladies should be looking out for their husbands too.  And we have a lot to learn about the prostate and other special things like that.

Okay, so this wasn’t really a blog about wedding planning.  It was a blog about what brides and grooms should do in the spirit of life planning.  I truly believe that sharing medical information and actively participating in each other’s health care is critically important for a healthy life and a healthy marriage.  And I think it’s my job to share all the useful information that I’ve learned with my readers.  Let me assure you that having participated actively in Bill’s healthcare (and he in mine) has literally been a lifesaver in the past couple of months.

Alrighty now, I’ll do my best to start blogging about Caribbean destination wedding planning in Vieques and Culebra next time I write, and I do truly apologize for not finishing my “Top Tens” for 2010 as I promised at the beginning of the New Year.  Real life intervened and fun things like blogging had to wait.  Now that we’re getting back to normal and Bill is getting better, I’ll start writing again more often.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!


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