I have a feeling I'm not the only one who has experienced this am I? I didn't think so. How often has this happened to you? How do you respond when it does?
Hearing this causes many people to feel frustrated, ignored and angry too...some also feel that doctors just don't seem to read or to listen. Is this how you have felt too? It's understandable.
To give the doctors some defense though...they are busy...they do see many patients...and they just can't remember everything about every patient they see. Though we may like it if they could.
BUT...I do believe there are things we can do as patients to make this easier for our doctors and for ourselves.
- most appointments are booked in 15 minute time slots...if you need a longer appointment with your doctor...inform their nurse when booking the appointment...this will ensure your doctor has the time to speak with you
- if additional appointments are needed to address all of your concerns...book them and attend them...asking questions as you have them
- take the time to write down what your concerns are ahead of time...order them in order of importance for you...many doctors will only address two concerns per appointment so make sure the most pressing matters are discussed
- when seeing a new doctor...have a list of all current medications you are using, dosage levels and times taken and also a list of medications you have tried in the past...this will help you keep track of any side-effects you have experienced and it will help you to share with the doctor the effects of any medication good or bad...be aware also of why you're taking each medication and what it's supposed to do for you
- ask any questions you may have...be informed...write them down ahead of time so you don't forget and ask any that may come up during the appointment...if you still forget one...call the doctor and leave a message or write it down and bring it to your next appointment
- bring with you any relevant copies of test results, x-rays etc. if you have them...you may also request copies of any test results received by your doctor so that you may share them with other doctors involved in you care...this ensures a "continuity of care" having all doctors involved informed of your illness, needs and care
- breathe...sometimes going to the doctors when we're stressed or feeling our pain can cause us to become easily frustrated and flustered...if this happens to you...calm your breathing...if you're feeling rushed or that the doctor isn't listening...state that clearly and calmly and ask them to slow down for you
- state your thoughts, fears, and questions calmly and assertively without losing your control...doctors are people too and they don't like being yelled at
- bring someone with you...bring someone you trust and who calms you...we don't always hear everything that is said or we can also shut down at times too...it's good to have a second set of ears at some appointments...the moral support helps too
- ask questions!! and a lot of them...it's your life...it's your illness...be informed...what are the diagnostic options?...what are your treatment options? and explore them openly with your doctor
- you may also ask if there is a "specialist" you could be referred to for specialized treatment...asking for a second opinion is never a bad thing either
- some doctors "diagnose" without performing any tests to confirm their diagnosis...you can inquire if there is a test available to confirm any suspected diagnosis before starting a treatment regimen
Living with a chronic illness and going to the doctors can be overwhelming at times...but there are things we can do to help ourselves and our doctors. What can you do to open the lines of communication with your doctor and/or treatment team?
Take good care of you and I hope this helps to open the lines of communication with your doctor.