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Friday, September 14, 2012

How To Prepare for a Visit To A New Doctor

As I was writing my post for yesterday, it occurred to me that actually, there is something educational or at least helpful that I can share from my life lately.  After all of the doctor visits and test of all sorts, I have a strategy to share!  Yep!  It came to me out of the blue...well, sort of. 

Here is what I have learned over the last two months of dealing with health issues that still have no resolution.  Everyone needs to plan ~ and needs a plan!  That's right - to plan and a plan.

Here's what I know.  In the beginning, all my brain could register was that I was short of breath.  After a few days of intense questioning by nurses, doctors, technicians, I realized I had a few other symptoms that needed to be mentioned.  That hadn't occurred to me right away because, well, breathing is right up there on the list of critical functions of our bodies.  When you have trouble with breathing, you pretty much can cancel all other thoughts.

I began to jot down all symptoms whether they seemed connected or not.  Let the experts connect the dots and put the puzzle together.  The more I was questioned, the more I wanted to know.  So, I also initiated some online research of my symptoms, which led to a list of questions alongside my list of symptoms.  The more I researched my personal situation, the more possibilities I found for diagnosis. 


I took my lists to the doctor visits, and one-by-one, asked my questions and was able to check a few off as answered or not applicable.  My focus was narrowing as I learned the lungs and the heart were both working like they should.  You see how this is working?  It helps to be a part of the process and feel like you are helping to figure things out.  There is less anxiety.

In my case, the next step is to see a Rheumatologist.  Since I had never seen one and was not familiar with what they did, I headed for the computer again.  Google is my friend.  I also learned a few things about how to prepare for the initial visit.  Much of what I have just mentioned was on that list, along with common sense things like arrive early and doing your new patient paperwork online if possible, bringing your insurance cards, etc. 
I should also bring my medical records, a list of questions (got that one covered), symptoms described in detail (yep, check!), and not wearing nail polish or too much makeup.  That one surprised me, but she will check my nails and skin for "significant physical findings." 

So back to the "to plan and a plan" idea.  In a nutshell, before seeing a new doctor, or even your old doctor for a new problem, here are some suggestions:
  • Write down all of your symptoms whether you think they are important or not. 
  • Note what you were doing/eating when the symptoms occurred.
  • Make a list of questions to ask.
  • Research your symptoms online or in medical books.
  • Add more questions and/or symptoms now that you are smarter.
  • Follow the common sense tips above and get to your appointment early, with your lists and insurance info handy.  Have your paperwork all filled out and ready to hand over.  Bring all pertinent medical records with you.
Never have I been so prepared for a physician visit, or felt more in control as when I pulled out my lists and insisted on going over the questions.  It helps me stay calm, and it helps them to diagnose the problem or decide who can.

Now, perhaps I can chalk this post up to a little mojo rejuvenation.  Maybe not.  But it felt good to write about something you may be able to use.  Do you have a plan before heading to a doctor appointment?  How do you prepare? 




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11 comments:

  1. Excellent tips. If you don't write them down and keep track you will forget. I've been doing this for my mom's dr. appointments. You'll feel more comfortable at the appointment too having all the information readily available.

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    1. LIsa - Thank you for sharing that. I wonder why I wasn't doing this before! LOL!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)

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  2. Agree with Lisa! Fabulous tips! And yeah, I'm thinking ya might have gotten that "mojo" back girlie! :)

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    1. Brenda Lee - LOL...maybe so! At least a little burst of it! We'll see if I can make it last!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)

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  3. Those are excellent suggestions, Pat. It is always hard to go to a new doctor. xo Diana

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    1. Diana - Yes, they ask a kajillion questions and then I forget what I wanted to ask!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)

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  4. I usually can't think of a thing to say when I'm sitting with the doctor. When he asks how I am I automatically say I'm fine. I should make that list! ~ Maureen

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    1. Maureen - TeeHee..I do the same thing! I wonder if they hear that all the time! It is so automatic to just spit it out - "fine." Now, however, I have an earful for them! LOL!
      Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)

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  5. Great tips! So sorry you are having to use them. Love to you, Ginger

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  6. Hola, soy Silvia, me alegro de haber conocido su blog, en genial!!!! me encanta, la admiro y te seguiré desde ahora, besitos desde Sevilla.

    http://silvia-artesaniadelsur.blogspot.com

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  7. Thank you very much for this very useful post. Not only am I going to a new doctor but in a different country too, where all the medical system is so different!!

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