I’ve been back from the Mayo Clinic for a couple weeks now. The whole process was a whirlwind, and I’ve been incredibly busy since then as well! But I would like to post some updates in the next week or so on how the trip went, as well some tips I learned along the way. That is what this post will be- advice I have for someone who wants to go to Mayo. I could have gotten more out of my visit if I had known a few of these things, so I want to try and put this info out there so others won’t make the same mistakes!
Before You Go: Planning your Trip
My first and perhaps most important tip, is to make ALL the appointments you think you might need as far in advance as possible. We made an appointment with an internist a month before we left, and figured that from there, he would make the subsequent GI and gynecological appointments based on what he thought was likely to be the cause of my pain. However by the time I got to Mayo, both specialties were booked out for months. If we had made all the necessary appointments from the beginning, I would have probably been able to see all the specialists on my first trip. Instead, I will have to make a return trip in the new year to meet with other specialties.
In the weeks before you go, gather all your records with hard copies and disks of imaging. Bring these with you to all appointments. If your condition is chronic, or you have tried a lot of treatments, creating a summary page or lists of medications you’ve tried will be incredibly helpful for your doctor. Personally, I had a huge stack of prior records from the last four years alone, so most doctors appreciated any summaries I had so they didn’t have to spend hours reading my records to pick out important details.
I would also advise asking hospitals how they accommodate Mayo patients. Many have programs where, for example, if you book from Monday to Sunday, but you only end up having appointments until Friday, they only make you pay for the days that you stay. If you decided to leave that Friday, you wouldn’t be responsible for paying for Saturday and Sunday.
While You’re There: Make the Most of your Time
Make sure you check your schedule (which you can get online from the portal) and figure out which building your appointment will be in each day. If it’s cold when you go, they have an underground walking subway that goes between the buildings and is an efficient way to get between different buildings in the hospital, or even back to some hotels. Arrive promptly for all your appointments, but getting there a half hour early won’t make much of a difference, as they run pretty true to schedule.
I also advise that you take advantage of the checkers desk and system. This is useful if you have an appointment pushed out too far, and you want to move it up. You can either check in and sit at the specialist you want to go to as a “checker”, and they will take you back if they have any cancellations. The checker desk on the ground floor of the Gonda building is also useful, as they can continue to call the offices of your appointments and try to move them up for you. They will call you if/when they are able to do so.
Most importantly, the staff and physicians are incredibly kind. ASK if you need help or get lost, they will be more than happy to help you. If you have any other questions, or any tips of your own, make sure to leave them down below!