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5 Tips For An Easier Doctor Visit

5 Tips For An Easier Doctor Visit
5 Tips For An Easier Doctor Visit
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1) Plan your visit. It’s a simple reality: face time with your doc is limited to 15 minutes or less. So figure out what you really want from the visit before the doctor is standing in front of you. What’s going to be the main focus? If you try to pack in everything you’re worried about, from your scalp to your toenails, you will leave unhappy. Choose what needs to be addressed that day and plan to come back another day for the rest.


2) Let the doctor make the diagnosis. Everyone uses Dr. Google to diagnose themselves these days, but here’s the thing: the first few minutes of what you tell your doc really sets up whether they diagnose you correctly. Spitting out a diagnosis as your hello means they have to prove or disprove your self-diagnosis. This may result in ordering additional invasive tests or going down the wrong path entirely and misdiagnosing you. Do yourself a big favor and just tell the doc your story in the same, simple, everyday language that you’d use with a buddy in a coffee shop. Tell her how you’re feeling: what feels wrong and what feels different. Once your doc tells you what they think the problem is, then, by all means, question the diagnosis and suggest your own. But be prepared for them to tell you if you’re wrong. And, by the way, the fact that they may suggest a diagnosis you’ve never heard of is OK. It simply indicates that they’re medically trained and you’re not, which is, after all, why you’re paying to see them.



3) Don’t lie. Your doc is not the police, your religious advisor or your mom.  He needs the real skinny to keep you healthy or get you back to being healthy. This, of course, means being honest about your number of sex partners, your alcohol consumption and your use of illegal drugs. Lying about these things could lead to misdiagnosis. Let me give you an example. Twenty five year olds with chest pain don’t have heart attacks. Twenty five year olds who use cocaine do.  See the difference?  Don’t let shame or embarrassment get between you and your doctor so he ends up making the wrong diagnosis.


4) Forget freebies. “I know I’m here with my child, husband, etc., but can I ask you a question? I have this lump…“ Doing this simply sets up tension. Ethically and medico-legally, if a doc sees you in his office they must take a history, examine you and document it all. This also must include a set of vital signs done by their support staff. And, in their world, seeing you, diagnosing you and documenting it is what they call “work.” Unsurprisingly they expect to get paid for doing it. In other words, check in. It’s better for everyone, including you.


5) Be prepared to hear some uncomfortable truths from your doctor. “Why do I get such bad back and knee pain?” The answer, frequently, is that you’re 80 pounds (or more) overweight and that leads to stress on your back and joints. Don’t believe me? Get two 15-pound weights, walk up and down the stairs and see how much fun it is. Think of how much abuse your back and joints take every day, even if you’re just 20 pounds overweight. You need to be prepared for your doc to tell you the honest truth—and to do something about it.

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