Maximizing Your Doctor Visit For Most Benefit
Take control of your own health.
If your visit is not an emergency, take time to make a plan. If you have several things to discuss and feel that you may need more than the usual allotment of time, mention this when you make your appointment so neither you nor your doctor will feel rushed. Some doctors are very generous with their time and others stick to the time allotment unless other arrangements are made.
Make a list of all your concerns, starting with the main one. Be ready to explain if you have had this condition before. How was it treated? Does it run in your family? How long have you had it and are your taking any over-the-counter medications for it? If you have a pain, where is it specifically? Is it sporadic or continuous? Does it come after eating, at night, lying down, etc? Is it worsening? Be specific and do not ramble.Bring a list of any medications that need to be refilled.
Bring all your medications with you and a list of any over-the-counter drugs or vitamins that you take on a regular basis. Some herbal remedies, that may seem harmless, actually conflict with medications. Making sure your doctor is aware of these items will help prevent potentially dangerous drug interactions or side affects.
Be honest. If you are reluctant to take a specific medication or if you are seeing another practitioner for this conditioner, such as a naturopath, inform your doctor. There may be other options or alternative treatments or your doctor may wish to refer you to another physician. Only by being totally honest can you get the best possible results.
If you know you have a specific condition or disease, learn all you can about it. Understand the symptoms, treatments, risks, benefits, and side affects. Ask your doctor for any available brochures or videos. There are excellent web sites available that address medical concerns. Ask your doctor which of these are the most reliable. Remember that the Internet is full of exaggerations and misinformation. Do not believe everything you read. Your library is an excellent resource. Discuss with your doctor anything that you have read or heard that you do not understand or that concerns you.
Listen to your doctor. If you feel that you may not remember what he tells you, take notes or bring a helpful friend or relative, who may better remember or ask pertinent questions. If your are given a prescription, make sure to ask what side affects you can expect as well as when you can expect improvement. If you will need a return visit, make the appointment immediately.
If you are visiting your doctor with what may be a contagious condition. wear a mask, arrive at the last minute, and sit as far away from others as possible. If you do not have a mask, your doctor will provide one. If you mention this problem when you make your appointment, you may be put in an area away from the main waiting room.
If you return home and suddenly remember a question you forgot to ask, phone the doctor immediately. If he is not available, leave a short concise message and ask when you can expect a return call. Be ready for it with pencil and paper at hand. Doctors are busy people. You may be asked to make a return visit. Do so graciously.
To have a successful relationship with your doctor, there must be honesty and respect on both sides. You must feel your doctor is both knowledgeable and compassionate. Your doctor has vast stores of medical knowledge, but so do you. You know your body, your feelings and your beliefs. You know the extent to which you are willing to follow directions and work together with your doctor. You may have a strong belief in alternative medicine or may tend to follow the advice of family and friends. All these factors and many more combine to affect the relationship you have with your doctor. If you are not comfortable with this relationship, your medical care can be less that optimally effective. It may then be time to move on and find another care giver who better suits your specific needs and personality.
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