Tips & Tools for a Good Doctor’s Appointment
Previously, I’ve written about how important the doctor-patient relationship is (and what to look for) and tips and tools for finding a great doctor, but now I want to discuss how to have a successful appointment. Of course, many things are out of our control, like how on time/late your doctor is running, but there are quite a few things we can do to make it the best possible appointment.
My first tip would be to set yourself up for success by scheduling your appointment at a time you know you’re typically awake and alert. While this is not always possible, there is some hope. For appointments made weeks in advance ask to be put on a cancellation list or if your doctor’s office doesn’t have one, call back every few days to see if an appointment at a better time has opened up. This also works for when you need to get an appointment soon, but nothing is available. I can’t tell you how many appointments I’ve made and moved using this tip.
Of course, you want to show up to your appointment early enough to fill out any needed paperwork or use the restroom. I try to always bring a bottle of water with me as well, so no matter how long I end up waiting in my room, I’ll be hydrated. This is especially helpful if I need to have blood drawn after the appointment. I also am sure to always have my trusty medical notebook with me. This is the most important tool for any type of doctor’s appointment I have. Please read my previous post about this, so you’ll understand all the ways it can help.
During the appointment make sure you go over any changes in your medication or refills that you need. Go over any new concerns, changes in your symptoms and questions. (You should write these in your medial notebook in advance). Jot down any key things your doctor tells you, as fibro fog may make it hard to recall easy thoughts and words later. Some doctors will even let you record your appointments, which may be easier than taking notes for some. Another thing to consider is if you want to have a family member/friend go with you as an extra pair of ears or an advocate.
Make sure you understand what your doctor is telling you and be sure to ask questions if you don’t. If you leave the office confused, it doesn’t help anybody. I think it goes without saying, but don’t keep any information from your doctor. This could result in a mis-diagnosis or unnecessary tests that will cost you time and money. If your doctor recommends that you do something and you have concerns or worries about how you’ll do, tell them your concerns. You’d be surprised at all the tips doctors have that they don’t share.
What’re your tips and tools for having a good doctor’s appointment?
*Image Credit: from www.flickr.com by Subconsci Productions