Planning to have an appointment with a doctor, no matter what kind of doctor can be stressful. There are a few things that you to prepare for the appointment to help relieve the stress. Accomplishing these prior to the appointment can help the meeting to go smoother and you will remember more from it. Here is a list that I compiled to help you prepare for the appointment.
- Organize your history.
- Anticipate what the doctor needs to know.
- Know your medications.
- Secure your medical records.
- Request a verbal summary.
- Prepare questions.
Organize your History
Having your history all laid out and ready for the doctor to go through, is a huge help to him/her. They can take the time with you and ask any questions right then and there. They won’t need to try to ask the questions at later appointments, or forget them all together. Try to give a brief summary and an outcome to each situation. Such as you had a xray, copies at on this cd.
Anticipate what the doctor needs to know.
Usually you know the reason why you are seeing that doctor, unless of course, you are seeing your general practitioner and you don’t know why you are feeling a certain way. That being said, you can pretty much guess what kind of information the doctor will require. For instance, if you have hip pain, how long have you had it? Where exactly is it located? Is the pain burning or stabbing? And so on. The doctor probably won’t seem to care too much that there is a hangnail on your big toe. unless the pain from the hip travels to the toe area. Information such as, how long the pain has been present, will be something the doctor would like to know. He/she won’t need the exact day the pain started but an estimate of time. This information will be the most useful to the appointment and the doctor.
Know your medications
This is a huge one. Write down all your medication, prescribed and OTC. You will need to give the exact milligrams, how often, and some doctors want to know for how long. This helps the doctor in case he/she wants to prescribe a new medications and they can see about interactions. Also, they don’t want to be prescribing more pain medications when you are already taking the daily allowance of that medicine. Or for that matter, any medicine has a daily allowance that one can take. But this is true for pain medicines.
Secure your medical records
This goes along with organizing your history. Have as much information on hard copies or a CD that the doctor can go through, as possible. Of course if it is a short notice to the appointment, make sure to sign over releases to the records that the doctor is requesting. If the doctor needs to know if and when you had an MRI on the hip, it’s a good thing to bring the records with you so he/she can see when the MRI was done and what was the result of the MRI. This is helpful for you to, so you don’t have to pay for another co-pay to the MRI and if you are like me, you don’t like being in the “tube” and less is better. Also, if you are like me, I have had so many MRI, X-rays. and CT-scans that I can’t remember when was the last time I had one done. I carry a 3 ring binder with me to my appointments with all the pertinent information in it for the doctor to look at any time. I have had doctors want to keep the binder because its well-organized but its sort of my bible of my medical records. And remember, these are your records. You have every right to have copies of all of it. Especially since doctor offices can close, then records are destroyed. Keep as much as you can, up to date and readily available.
Request a verbal summary
Once the appointment is wrapping up, ask the doctor to summarize what was said. One of the great stresses we can deal with on any day, is a doctor appointment, even for a simple cold can get confusing. The doctor may be like mine, and like to use big words that I might not 100% understand or the stress of being in the doctor’s office may have you only hearing half of what is being said. So it’s always good to have the doctor summarize the appointment. Something else that goes along with this is, take someone with you. I always have my husband, if he can. come to my appointments. He is most likely not as stressed as I am and will be hearing things clearly. I try to always go to all of my parent’s doctor appointments. My mother is hard of hearing and she is early stages of Alzheimer’s so she hears bits and pieces. My father has Multiple Sclerosis and it is stressful on him just about every appointment. I take notes and repeat what the doctor says. I learn things better that way and then I can explain it to my parents better. Don’t be afraid to take notes, this is your health that you are dealing with. You have the right to take as much time as you need with the doctor!
With the internet nowadays, we can get a lot of information off of it on just about everything. But when you ask a professional in that field questions, you will get the best answer. I always seem to forget the questions that I want to ask when I am in the appointment so make it a priority to write the questions down. It’s easy to have a mind-blank in a stressful situation. You don’t want to leave the appointment and have no idea what to do if. A. B. or C happens and then you are making emergency phone calls to the doctor even after he/she already told you what to do. And always remember the old saying “there is no stupid question”. Only thing stupid is not asking the question.
Try these the next time you have an appointment with any one of your doctors. You will feel better after the appointment and the doctor will be happy that everything was talked about and all your question were answered. And worse comes to worse, try the binder and see if you make your doctors happy about your organizational skills!