Top 8 Tips For Going to the Doctor
Top 8 Tips For Going to the Doctor
Hey friends! Happy Sunday! This week’s topic: Going to the Doctor!
Remember, it is our job to take care of ourselves on a daily basis by making good food, fitness, and lifestyle choices… but, you should visit your doctor at least once per year to check in and see how you’re doing with all of those choices. This applies to both women AND men, my friends. I know a lot of guys who think they’re off the hook because they don’t see an OB/GYN… not true, gentlemen! Everybody has a body, and that body needs a peek by a professional. Let me ask you this: can you see your own back up close and not in the mirror? If you can, then you are an acrobatic genius! My point? A professional knows what to look for, where to look for it, and if something doesn’t look right… and they can see places on your body that you can’t 😉
And, hey, if you truly are the picture of health (and I hope you are!), you will gain some bragging rights at your visit each year!
So… is there really a “best” way to visit your doctor? Absolutely! The key is to be prepared. Here are my top 8 tips to help you go to the doctor the “best” way you can!
1. Make an appointment.
I know, it seems like a silly step, but if you don’t make the appointment, you won’t go. Appointments give you accountability; and quite honestly, it is imperative in 2019. Most people can’t just drop in to the doctor’s office and happen upon an available time slot. Schedule a couple of months in advance so you’re sure to get an appointment that suits your schedule, and then put it on your calendar. For me, it’s something I do every March, and I start scheduling in January. All of my doctor’s appointments happen the same month, as it makes it easy to keep track (teeth, eyes, OB/GYN, and primary MD for me… who’s on YOUR team?!).
2. Submit for a sick day or PTO.
Yes! Some of you lucky winners have employers who pay you to go to the doctor! You won’t know unless you ask though, so check in with your boss and find out about your benefits and how to claim them. There, I just made you some money. You’re welcome. 😉
3. Make a list.
This is a big one! You think you will remember what you want to talk about… but, you probably won’t. You’ll inevitably miss something, possibly the most important thing… and then you will have to make another appointment, pay another co-pay, and fiddle with your calendar at the last minute. Do you ever go to the grocery store without a list? Did you get home with everything you needed? Usually not. You missed the most important ingredient for dinner, didn’t you? It’s okay, we all do it. But don’t do that with your doctor! Not only does a list help you touch on all the topics of concern, but it also helps to structure the time of your appointment. Remember: doctors are busy folks just like you and I, and they too are constrained by the clock. A list helps you and your doc address everything that needs addressing while being respectful of each other’s time.
4. Check it twice.
No joke! Check that list. Say you’re a generally healthy person, but you had a couple of vague symptoms that you wanted to ask about. Unless those symptoms are active, you healthy person, you… you will probably forget to ask. For example: maybe you tend to get headaches, but they have been coming more often and stronger… but, you don’t have a headache when you go to the doctor, so it’s not at the forefront of your mind. After all, you have had headaches before, right? Well, it is still important to address, as your doctor may want to further investigate. So when you check your list, be sure to include the things that you might otherwise write off. It’s always worth a mention.
Also… make sure to actually bring your list with you!
5. Understand that Google did not go to medical school.
It’s okay if you want to do some research online, and it is very natural to do so these days. I get it. HOWEVER, do not self-diagnose or skip going to your doctor because you “found it online.”
Google is not a doctor, nor did Google ever claim to be.
Please do not scare the life out of yourself by searching something online and assuming the worst. Your doctor IS a doctor and DID go to medical school. You can seek information prior to your appointment if you so choose, but don’t go putting the cart in front of the horse. Your doc will help you get to the bottom of whatever is concerning you.
6. Know what the stupid questions are.
I get choked up with this one. As a nurse, I’ve had so many patients preface questions with, “I know this is probably a stupid question, but…” and I have told them EVERY TIME:
The only stupid questions are the ones that aren’t asked.
So, when you visit your doctors, remember this: they are doctors, you are not (unless of course, you are! But even then, your role is now of the patient, and we in healthcare know how collaborative the field is, so it’s always great to get another professional perspective.). In other words, doctors don’t expect you to know everything they know, and they WANT you to ask questions; they want to teach you, explain things, and ease your concerns. They really do. If you feel like they don’t, then it’s time for another doctor.
7. Advocate for yourself.
This is huge. If there is something that is worrisome to you, do not be embarrassed or afraid to ask for further evaluation or testing. If you feel it is being written off as something unimportant, but you still have a concern, it is completely okay to seek a second opinion. The visit with your doctor is a conversation; it goes both ways. You are a team. You decide together the plan of care, YOUR care.
8. Follow up.
Yes! You’re not done when you leave the office, my friend. You will likely have labs and/or other tests to complete… and then you have to check back for your results. Some doctors call you, others have patient portals (I LOVE THESE!), and some may request that you call in for your results. So, be sure to find out how to obtain your test results, and schedule follow up appointments as needed.
There you go, my lovelies! With this handy little guide, you will no longer dread or put off those appointments, right?!
Remember your health is in YOUR hands!!!
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Until Next Week, Be Well and Be Good!