Preparing to see a new doctor is frustrating. In addition to filling out mountains of paperwork, I have to guess which aspects of my medical history the doctor will deem important.
Will he want copies of any of my prior lab work? Which of those tests might matter?
Will he want my guesses about what’s going on, or should I keep my thoughts to myself unless asked?
Will he want to know about discontinued medications as well as current meds? He should, since two or three of them are pertinent to the situation. What if he doesn’t ask? If he does, will he want exact doses/dates, or just the med name and approximate dates?
How I long for the days when I had only one doctor and saw him only for my physicals & the kids’ well-child visits. I liked going in for a routine check-up and being told, “You’re healthy. Come back in two years.”
Alas, those days are gone. While I’m thankful that people have selected medicine as a career, and I’m grateful to my physicians for their help, I am weary of needing to see doctors.
So very weary. I’m tempted to cancel my upcoming appointment with yet another specialist. If it weren’t for the threat of getting a “non-compliant” label, I never would have scheduled the appointment. On the other hand, what would be the point in asking my doctors for their expert help and then ignoring their recommendation?
Some days I find myself asking, “What did I ever do to deserve this? Why does my immune system hate me?” Then I cancel my little pity-party and get back to figuring out how to cope with this situation.
I want this appointment to go well, so I need to be prepared (unless I call the whole thing off, in which case I need to be prepared to explain that choice to the referring doctor). Although I don’t want to go, I probably should. To that end, in addition to gathering information, I’m reviewing some of the things I’ve learned in the past few years about doctor-patient interactions. It feels like I’m cramming for a test:
know why you’ve been referred (Dr. Grumpy)
remember that doctors are human, too (Jill of All Trades)
small-talk matters (Dr. Synonymous)
ask, “what else could it be?” (Groopman)
provide the information doctors need (Medical Interview)
There’s certainly more, but with any luck, this will get me off to a good start with this new doctor.