Action: Show of hands please: How many of you like going to the doctor?
My guess: NOT very many!
Next question: Why do people hesitate going to the doctor?
- They feel intimidated by the doctor: W.C.S. (White Coat Syndrome)
- FEAR: Visit may find something abnormal
- FEAR: Visit may NOT find something abnormal – mystery
- FEAR: visit may show a symptom (alarm) that changes how you’re feeling
Let’s take a moment to talk about how to eliminate F.U.D.
- F – FEAR
- U – Uncertainty
- D – Doubt – Do I really need to see this doctor?
According to a 2018 survey by Statista, about 33 percent of U. S. physicians spent 17-24 minutes with their patients. This being the case, how can you make the most of the time you do have with your doctor?
Make a plan BEFORE your doctor visit:
- Ask yourself, “Why am I going to the doctor?”
- Is the visit for my annual check-up?
- Ask yourself: “Am I having ANY symptoms?” DO NOT IGNORE THEM!!!
POINT: Oftentimes, they are ignored – especially by men. Sorry guys, but it’s the truth
- Get your pen and pencil out or have a scribe with you who can take notes during the visit – using an electronic means is a super way to retain a running account of your history
- Before going to the appointment, make a note of any issues you are having especially any changes in your health since your previous exam – no matter how insignificant they may seem to you.
BENEFIT: it will help your doctor assess/diagnose a problem and help you deal with it
- Make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor BEFORE YOU GO for the visit and be sure to LEAVE ROOM TO WRITE ANSWERS!! Research shows 96.2% of people forget to ask some of their questions in the presence of their doctor.
- Why is that? Perhaps it’s due to the fact that the focus is on what the doctor is saying to the patient and the attention falls on the one (the doctor) GIVING the information. Also, the patient may be nervous and flat out forgets to ask. As you drive out of the parking lot, there is an “ah-ha” moment. “I meant to ask so and so.” Too late!!
POINT: Take someone with you – 4 ears hear twice as much – plus it is helpful to have a note taker while the doctor is talking with you.
Back to SYMPTOMS. True life situation. When my bladder cancer was first discovered, I had symptoms. It would have been easy for me to have just blown it off (macho thing to do) and not seek my doctor’s input. Instead, I made the doctor appointment. Upon an examination and responding to a myriad of questions, I was referred to a urologist, who diagnosed me with low grade bladder cancer, which is highly treatable!
POINT: Had I chosen to ignore the initial warning flag, I probably would have been okay – for a while. The cancer could have eventually spread outside the bladder and invaded the kidneys – NOT GOOD and much more difficult to treat.
Okay! That about wraps up this portion of this series. See ya next time when we talk in the 3rd installment about listing personal/medical information and introduce some easy to use formats that doctor offices simply LOVE!!
This article is part 2 of a series, if you missed article #1, click here to read it!