Friday, December 18, 2015

Make the most of your next doctor visit

I hate going to the doctor--there I said it! It means dipping my mind into "Sick World," feeling scared and vulnerable--or furious and irritated. I stretch out the visits as long as they will let me have my BP meds...But sooner or later, I go...

Will I have worse kidney numbers? What about those weird barnicles growing on my skin? I brought a list of four things--the rest I call "Live with Its" (LWIs).

As I peered at the list with my damaged vision (an LWI), the doctor leaned over and took the list to see how long it was. Yes, it's that kind of world now.

As I searched for a dermatologist to get referred to (those skin thingies), I read awful Yelp reviews--worst doctor ever, said I could only ask one question, indifferent, didn't care, would not do things insurance didn't cover, waited way more than an hour, staff mean, on and on,

Dawn Davis, MD, a Saint Louis University family care physician and professor of family and community medicine, says she tells patients to put everything in a brown paper bag. Prescriptions, over-the-counter, herbs, supplements--whether they came from that doctor or not.

If you are not taking something prescribed--bring this up, too.

She tries to prescribe the lowest cost drug, but if the cost seems, outlandish, call the doctor back.

If you are coming for a specific ache or symptom, think about it--when is it worse, does any activity make it worse. How long have you had it?

Doctors are not there to judge, she says. I say they do. But whatever--if you smoke or don't exercise, be honest.

---Have your paperwork done.

---Make a list of every doctor you've seen in the last year and why.

--Know your health history.

--Don't wait until the doctor stands to leave to bring up new concerns.

--Make sure you understand your action plan or next step.

Repeat it back to the doctor if you need to.  Then follow through.

Don't know if all this would help if the doc is "indifferent" or even hostile. But you can try it--might help.

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