How can you get the most from a visit with your doctor?
First, wear clothes that are easy to get on and off. Wear comfortable shoes, too, because you may have to do some walking. You may want to wear a long-sleeved shirt because buildings can be drafty. Bring a magazine to look at, a bottle of water, and lists of health facts with you. Gathering these facts can take weeks, so start now. Here are the things your doctor needs to know.
YOUR BIG PROBLEM. Why did you make the appointment? Have you been feeling this way a long time? Can you still get things done?
OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS. If you do not hear well tell the doctor. If you can not see well, even with glasses, tell the doctor. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
YOUR SYMPTOMS. What are they? Where are they? How long have you felt this way? Does anything set off these symptoms?
X RAYS AND TEST RESULTS. If you have x-rays bring them with you. You should also bring your medical records — shots you had in the past, surgery you may have had, and test results. Bring letters from other doctors if you have them.
PRESCRIBED MEDICINE LIST. List all the things you are taking and how often you take them. Bring the medicine bottles with you if you do not understand the directions. Make two lists, one for your doctor and one for you.
OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICINE LIST. You may be taking “baby” aspirin, cough syrup, vitamins and herbs. List everything you take and how often you take it. Number the list. How long have you been taking these things?
YOUR HEALTH HISTORY. Think about the the illnesses you had when you were a child, the injuries you had, like a broken arm, when and if you were in the hospital, the number of kids you have, and anything else that may help the doctor. Make two lists, one for the doctor and one for you.
YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH HISTORY. Did your mom have breast cancer? Did your aunt have breast cancer, too? Think about your relatives’ health because it could have something to do with yours. After you have talked with relatives write down what they have told you and put your family health history in a safe place. Getting ready for a visit with your doctor helps your doctor to help you.
Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson