Dancing With The Doctors

A great family physician blogger who I sometimes read is Jill of All Trades, MD.  If you’re not already following her, check out the post:  Dancing With the Doctors: Learn 5 Steps to Tango Effortlessly at Your Doctor’s Office.  It’s a fun, well-written post.

One step she mentions is an aspect of obtaining medical care that drives me crazy:

Tell the nurse who takes your vital signs and places you in the exam room exactly what you are there for.

When I make the appointment, I have to tell the scheduler why I need an appointment.  I can’t just ask for an appointment; they want the story.  Then when the nurse shows me back to the exam room, I have to repeat that story for the nurse.  Later the doctor comes in and wants me to repeat it again.

And I think, what was the nurse writing if she didn’t write down why I’m here?  or why are you asking me something that’s already written in my chart? 

My solution – and I honestly don’t know if my doctor likes it or hates it, but it works for me – is that I now type up my answer to the question “why are you here?” before I go see my doctor.  I try to keep it short, but include details like how long it’s gone on, what I’ve tried as home treatments, if anything makes it better or worse… 

When the nurse shows me into the exam room, I hand her my short write-up (half-sheet, max).  She documents whatever she wants in the chart, but usually just slides my little paper under the clip so the doctor can read it.  When my son hurt his arm, I included a photo so that the height from which he fell was clear.  I feel that I’m able to give clearer information in less time this way, because I’m less likely to forget details that might be omitted in a verbal narrative.  I don’t get half-way home and say, “I forgot to tell him…”

Do you have little things you do to make your appointments go more smoothly?



An excerpt from Dr. Rob’s post full of tips for When Someone Around You Hurts:

1. Be There – I was in the mountains of California a few weeks back.  I was there at a meeting and was there with another person from my office.  We took some time on the last day to drive through the mountains and enjoy the scenery.  As I enjoyed a particularly beautiful view, I remarked to him about how different it is to enjoy that kind of thing with someone else there.  There is something about beauty that makes you want to share it.  It validates your emotion.  It doesn’t make the mountain more beautiful, it is better simply because the person is there.  The closer you are to the person, the more the enjoyment.  I kept thinking to myself: “I sure wish my wife was here.”The same thing is true for people going through difficult times.  Dealing with hardship is much easier when you have people alongside you.  I do that for many people on a professional basis – much of what I do is not to cure or diagnose, it is to live through the difficult times with my patients.  But the closer the companion, the more meaningful the companionship.  You don’t make the pain any less when you are with someone who suffers, but somehow your being there makes it different.  Could my coworker have done something to make the mountains more beautiful?  He didn’t need to.  In the same way, your job is not to make the pain any less, it is simply to be there.

It’s an excellent article, well worth reading the entire post.