1. Patients launch $1.27 million crowdfunding campaign for ME/CFS gut microbiome study.
    Check out the website, Facebook and Twitter. Join in donate and spread the word!

10 Ways to Maximize Your Doctor Trip

Blog entry posted by Lisa, Sep 4, 2010.

as originally posted at Sundog Tales:

It can be useful to minimize wasted time when paying out of pocket for a specialist visit, having to travel for the appointment, or not being well enough to make multiple trips to your physician. Over the years I have learned a few tricks to help us get the most we can out of our in person visits with our MCS/CFS specialist.

Here is how I maximize my visits and I hope this helps you receive the care you deserve at your next appointment.

* Come prepared. Bring a clearly written or typed list of questions, changes in symptoms, and what you want to accomplish in this appointment.

* Bring an updated copy of all medications and supplements you are taking for your file records. Should your doctor need to write a new prescription or look for problems with your medication, this will also makes it easier for them to know what you are currently on without having to flip through multiple pages of your file.

* If you've taken a test for a specific condition, do a little research on it before walking into the appointment. Find out the general symptoms, treatment, etc of it prior to seeing your doctor. A lot of time can be saved in a visit if you do not need an in depth explanation of things should you test positive for x condition. It allows more time to decide treatment options instead of covering the rudimentary physiology of the problem.

* Arrive early. This makes sure you are there for every minute if they happen to be running on time and allows you an opportunity to collect your thoughts prior to seeing the doctor.

* Bring a clearly printed or typed list of all known prescriptions you will need written this trip. Leave room to add to the bottom of it while in the appointment should a new script be needed that is not written up on the spot. Some doctors even prefer to write the scripts out of the appointment when they have time to look up dosages and in general don't feel rushed. This can save you several minutes depending on how many scripts you need.

* Be prepared to take notes. This will help keep you on track and give you something to refer back to a few hours/days later if you have forgotten a dosage or treatment change.

* Be as proactive as possible about keeping on track. Sometimes doctors find a story they want to share or enjoy; it is up to you to steer them back to the next topic at hand as gently as possible so as not to seem rude with your interruption.

* Try to limit yourself to keeping on track as well. It can be easy to spend a lot of time sharing symptoms or concerns with your doctor if they are sympathetic. It is just as important to keep yourself focused on the meeting as it is to keep your doctor focused.

* Follow the list of tasks you made and make sure to hit each one. It sounds redundant, but it is amazingly easy to miss asking that one question which will keep you awake all night when you remember it again. There may be a lot of information exchanged during your meeting and it can be hard for those of us cognitively impaired to keep up with all the changes. A checked off list helps greatly with this problem.

* If your doctor says something that you do not understand, make sure to ask for clarification. This can save having to go back for a second trip later or incorrect treatment occurring because you did not understand clearly what was being said at the time. Doctors do make mistakes sometimes and knowing exactly what they are talking about is a great way to limit these mistakes.
  1. Lisa
    Thanks Snez! :D

    Maybe I just look more intimidating than you do. hehe Like someone who has planted her feet and will NOT be budged until all my questions are answered so they just give in. :D

    Hugs! Lisa :Retro smile:
  2. Snez
    Hiya there Lisa, :Retro smile:
    Very good practical list. I've also resorted to writing down lists for doctors, problem is that most times most doctors don't have to the time to go through our bewildering lists of symptoms and concerns, much less address them in a 15 minute consultation. I always get the feeling that they just want to push you out the door as fast as possible. Oftentimes they don't have much to offer, so I have just about given up on going to a doctor and rely on my naturopath.
    I think it is great that you have a great doctor to work with on this level. :):hug: