Today, we begin a three-part blog series entitled: TALK with your Doctor!
Should you bring a friend or relative with you to the doctor’s office?
Let me answer this by asking: Do you accompany your loved one to the doctor’s office? If so, why?
Just as you decide to serve as your loved one’s patient advocate, you need someone who will ensure you receive the same level of attentive and quality care. (This assumes you don’t put off your appointments because you’re too busy providing care for your loved one.)
We’re not talking about your regular check-ups, here. (You should be scheduling these as a preventative measure.) We’re talking about those instances where you’ve scheduled a follow-up visit or an appointment with a specialist.
No matter how strong we are, we seem to lose our nerve, focus, memory, or even ability to advocate for our own health while in the doctor’s office. Yet, when it comes to supporting loved ones, we seem strong, articulate, and righteous in our efforts to secure attentive care. A conscientious and heartfelt caregiver to her husband recently told me: You don’t know me. I can be a real B!TC#! Yet even she may whither in the doctor’s office as she struggles to remember which issues she needs to discuss about her own healthcare with the doctor.
Why do we forget when we’re in the doctor’s office?
Because in this rush-rush world, where the doctor seems to spend only five minutes with us after we’ve waited an hour-and-a-half, we’re so happy to see him/her, we don’t want to take too much time. Now, this doesn’t make sense, but most of us are guilty. This is one reason to invite a level-headed advocate to join us.
One step to take is to keep a list of things we want to address when we see our doctor. Keep this list in the same place–in your health file, your appointments file, or even on the computer. Whatever you do, make sure you’ll remember to bring it on the day of your appointment. If your doctor sends you a reminder postcard, like my dentist does, write a note on the card to remember to bring your notes. (I usually write notes in the notes section of the appointment recorded on my Outlook calendar. I then sync this to my handheld computer and refer to it during my appointment. (Even I forget things, unless I refer to these notes.) This way, you’ll be sure to cover all the issues you thought of during the weeks leading up to your appointment.
You do this for your loved one, right? It’s time you do it for yourself.
In Part II of TALK with your Doctor!, we’ll cover what to do when your doctor says something you don’t understand.
Brenda Avadian, MA
Print copies of this and share with your clients or fellow support group members.
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© 2008 Brenda Avadian, MA (Original blog post)