Make the most of your visit with the doctor

If you are like me you like to keep your doctor’s visits to a minimum. Do not get me wrong. My doctor is a nice guy. Great bedside manner, seems to remember me after a years time, and seems to really take an interest. But the whole doctor’s office thing just makes me uneasy. Maybe it is how clinical it feels, or maybe it is your fear of anything medical (or is that just me?). The doctor’s office feels white, scary and I feel as if I suddenly got sick the minute I step foot into the office. Getting poked and prodded and offering samples of my fluids does not really constitute as a good time in my book.

So now that you know way too much into my neurosis, I can let you in on a secret. It is called maximizing your doctor’s visits. I hate nothing more than leaving the doctor’s office only to realize I forgot to ask him or her a burning question. That can require a prodding call after you leave or worse, another appointment.

Multiple unnecessary appointments can be costly (you have a co-pay for each doctor’s visit which can add up quickly), and time consuming (have you every walked right into the doctor’s office only to see the doctor immediately? If so, I’m going to need the name of your doctor). Put your family health insurance to good use,  avoid these miscounts getting the heebie geebies, maximize your appointments.

1. Write down everything you want to talk to your doctor about. Even though you might be going in for one specific reason, now is the time to get all of your medical questions answered. If my appointment is a week or so away, or I am contemplating making an appointment, I write down any of my medical questions on a pad of paper. Often times you forget when you are on the spot, especially if you are in one of those airy paper gowns.

2. Be truthful. What, you ask? It is extremely important to be truthful when visiting your doctor. If you smoke, tell him. If you do not exercise, tell him. These may seem trivial to you, but these little lies could make the doctor misdiagnose you. If telling the truth stresses you out, know that your doctor is bound by the laws of HIPAA, which is a law that prohibits doctors for sharing any information about his or her clients. What you say is between you and your doctor.

3. Make a list of medications you are taking. This is extremely important if your doctor is prescribing you other medications. There are certain types of medications that do not play nice with each other. Their interactions can be harmful, and in some cases deadly, if they are taken together. The best way to avoid this? Be prepared with a list of every medication you take (ingested and topically), with their dosage and how often you are really taking them, not just how they are prescribed.