When you are disabled sometimes you can get away with one or two doctors depending on your disability and how many body parts you have that don’t work properly but most of the time disabled people need more specialists than abled-bodied people. As a disabled person, I see a primary care doctor and a dentist that everyone sees but it does not stop there because I have more body parts that don’t work than ones that do. When you have a disability such as Spina Bifida sometimes you required more specialists and a primary care doctor is not going to cut it for me because they don’t have the advanced training that some of my specialists who studied my condition at a deeper level do. Some people with Spina Bifida will not need as many specialists as I do or may need more and it depends on what form you have because not everyone will struggle in the same way . In this post, I am going to talk about the types of specialists that I need to see as disabled person to be healthy.
Urologist– Some people will go to their primary care physician when they have a UTI but I do not because my bladder, bowels, and kidneys do not work properly, and if I were to go to my primary care doctor they probably wouldn’t know what to because they don’t understand my bladder problems to the extent a specialist does. I have had around thirty surgeries but if I had to guess I would say that a big chunk of them are abdominal surgeries because I have a lot of bladder and bowel problems. My urologist is the person that created my stoma for both my bladder and bowel which gave me independence and is the person who found a medication when I had a bladder stone problem that keeps me out of surgery. I have not had any kidney issues as of yet but my urologist does check the health of my kidneys in my yearly renal sonogram for bladder stones because kidney problems are common with Spina Bifida but if I were to start having kidney issues I would likely be referred to a nephrologist which is a kidney specialist because urologists are mostly experts on the bladder not the kidneys.
Orthopedist– If you have ever broken a bone you probably went to an orthopedist or should have to get better. I have not had as many orthopedic surgeries as abdominal ones but I do have to see an orthopedist more often than most people because I have hip dysplasia and I need someone to write scripts for leg braces that improve my stability. The orthopedist that I have been seeing more recently that I like more specializes in hips and knees because the regular orthopedist did not have as much training to be able to do my surgery successfully. I do have two orthopedists and if I were to break an arm or have any other type of orthopedic problem that is not related to my hip I’d see a regular orthopedist.
Neurosurgeon– When I was a child I had regular scans and went to my neurosurgeon often but not as an adult things have stabilized and only go as needed. I have a condition called Hydrocephalus which is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (blood) in the brain that usually cushions the brain but when there is too much it can be dangerous. There cure for Hydrocephalus but a neurosurgeon can put in a shunt that drains the excess fluid to other parts of the body and basically saves someone’s life. I also live with another condition called Chiari malformation which is another condition that is common with Hydrocephalus and that is when part of the brain that controls coordination and muscle movement is abnormally small and doesn’t sit in the normal opening of the skull which forces it to put downward. Chiari malformation doesn’t always need to be treated but for me, it did because it started to give me a lot of pain and I needed surgery to relieve some pressure. I don’t see a neurosurgeon often but it’s important to have one because although a shunt is life saving it is a device that can stop working which is life-threatening without treatment.
Neurologist– A neurologist and neurosurgeon both study the brain and the main difference is that neurosurgeons operate and neurologists typically don’t. I am not a fan of my neurologist but I do need one because neurologists specialize in epilepsy and headache disorders and probably a lot of other disorders that I am not aware of because I don’t have them.. When my migraine and headache frequency changes I usually will go to my neurosurgeon to rule out a possible shunt malfunction but after that is ruled out I would go to my neurologist to tweak my medication.
Orthotist– An orthotist is not a doctor but it is someone who specializes in making prosthetics and is the person that makes my leg braces to improve my stability.
Primary care– As a disabled person I see a lot of specialists but I also see a doctor that everyone should see like a primary care doctor. My primary care doesn’t have a lot of knowledge on treating my more advanced health issues that need a specialist but they do treat my overall health and is the person I’d go to if I had bronchitis. As a disabled person, I am probably one of the very few people that actually get regular physicals because to keep my benefits I have to which is not awful since I like my primary care doctor.
Dentist– Some disabled people do not go to the dentist on a regular basis because some people are quite fearful of dental work or can’t go due it’s lack of accessibility. I hate going to the dentist with passion but it has nothing to do with my dentist as an individual and has everything to do with me not trusting dentists because sometimes they are dishonest and tell you to get dental work that you don’t need. I hate the dentist but I still get professional cleaning twice a year because by getting your plaque removed it can help prevent things like heart disease and can catch cancer in your mouth before it becomes serious and untreatable. I take excellent care of my mouth and have never needed any major dental procedures but I still go regularly even though I have excellent oral health because a lot can happen in six months!
When you are disabled you usually will see a primary care doctor and dentist that everyone sees but it doesn’t always end there and sometimes more specialists are required.. People sometimes think that because someone has a lot of specialists that you must live at your doctor’s office but it depends on what disability you have because not all disabled people get sick all the time. When I was a child, I went to the doctor more often because that is when the bulk of my surgeries are but as I have gotten older I have a lot of health issues that have to be treated by multiple doctors and it is possible a missed a few things because when you live with so many health problems sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of them all even if you are the ones living with it. I am not at the doctors as often as people assume I am because being disabled doesn’t necessary make you unhealthy. I hope helped you learned a thing or two about some of the specialists I need as a disabled person and if you have any more question please comment below and I will do my best to answer. If you are disabled what types of specialists do you see?
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