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Any Good Tips for How to Talk to Doctors?
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missist posted:
I think I really mess this up--I need to learn how to handle my doctors effectively. To get my message across and get the help I really need when I see them.

I think what happens is I come in with a shotgun approach with dozens of problems and get really off track. Hard for me to focus when there is so much messed up-- what to really say.

Anyhow it always seems that when one thing gets better there are some new things. crazy!

also meds cause some things too.

So-- when you see a doctor --what do you do that is effective? and what do you say/do that isn't.

Looking for suggestions/tips.

Thanks!
mary
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wellagain responded:
I understand. I always leave feeling that they didn't hear, care, or understand how I feel. I have started to keep a simple to read log and put it in out line form. Make headers, high light and give a copy to your doctor when your go. Go over it with him. Tell him/her that you will keep records of improvement so he/she will know what works and doesn't so he/she know for other patients as well. Make your self as case study for them. I may, and that's a big may make them take more interest in you. I'll post if it works for me. I feel like there is no answer for this disease and no one is looking for one. I'm so frustrated as well.
 
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Anon_10089 replied to wellagain's response:
Hello-

I hate walking away from an unsatisfying doctor's appointment. What I do now is try to be very organized. I write down a list of my symptoms, exactly how it affects my life, what I'm trying to do to ease them myself, and what my goal is to fix them. I take those notes to the doctor and use it as reference for the whole appointment.

I try to be very business-like with this approach. I dress nicely and am polite. Of course, I also try to be open and honest. I think, though, that some doctors are immediately turned off if someone gets too emotional. I wish that wasn't the case, but I think it's true.

I used to think that doctors were these highly intelligent people who would be able to form their own conclusions based on my symptoms. While they are of course learned people, I have found that some doctors only know a very narrow piece of medicine. And most do not know FM and all its accompanying side effects. So I usually go into my doctors with my own ideas that she either supports, or explains in a different way.

I hope your appointment goes well. Try the checklist and as you see the doctor wrapping up the appointment, make sure to look at your list and make sure everything was addressed. Use a pen, if need be, to check off everything on your list as it's discussed.
 
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missist replied to Anon_10089's response:
I have done lists--- but I think maybe not with confidence.

years ago I brought a list of my symptoms and questions to a dr and she cut me off mid sentence, said there is no such thing as fibromyalgia and that it was just how my body worked. she asked if there was a gun in our house and suggested a psychiatrist! I was just going to her in hopes of a referral to a different rheumatologist cuz mine seemed to only concerned with people who had serious illness.

Another time though I brought a diagram of a human body and color coded the symptoms-- there was almost nothing that wasn't colored with either pain, stiffnes or both.

THAT time the dr was great-- and listened and cared. Unfortunately we moved to another state.

ah!

so anyhow I think-- a short list is good, or a visual--yes. I think what I need to learn is how to be more professional and speak more confidently.

I always get this dumb idea I'm 'begging' when these folks get highly paid no matter if I get relief or not.

so yeah-- confidence is needed.

I'll wait to see if anyone else has more ideas. thanks!
 
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rosielou replied to missist's response:
Hi Mary,

I have a spiral notebook that I take to all appointments, doctor, imaging, physical therapy, anything.

Between appointments I use those sticky notes to jot down things I want to discuss. I stick them on the inside cover of the notebook. Then before an appointment I start a new page in the notebook with my questions or observations, using those stickies plus the reasons for the appt. During the appointment I take notes about what the dr says.

At first some were weird about the notebook, but now all of them like it. My PCP actually asks to see it when she comes into the exam room. And at the end of the appt she goes over what I've written to make sure I haven't confused anything. My neurologist prints out his notes for me at the end of the visit, and I just tape that in.

I've explained to all that I need it to remember what gets discussed in the appointments. I only use it for my communication and reference. It also keeps me "on task" so I don't forget things.

In addition, I also have a separate pocket folder where I keep copies of lab results and disks of MRIs and X-rays. My drs can get the imaging online, but sometimes those systems go down and it just makes things easier if I pull them out. That's usually only for new doctors.

Can you tell that I used to be an accountant in my working days?

Rosie
 
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missist replied to rosielou's response:
I can see that. I do write things down a lot in normal every day life--cuz I cannot remember.

I like that idea of telling the docs you need it to remember things that are said/stay on track. I hope I don't forget to try it.
 
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xperky responded:
I have found each doctor to be unique in what they like from me. My pcp likes my hand written lists and asks to have them and go through each item! She recommends I keep a notebook with all labs and bring it each time so she can get copies of anything new that might be there from a specialist. She has other patients who do this for her. She has been my pcp for many years and she has helped me through some rough spots.

One of my specialists seemed put-off by my organized approach and said he just uses yellow-stickys. I got the message and now bring him a very brief list of my most important questions. I've noticed little yellow stickys all over his office and his nurse uses them too! Maybe I'll bring a bunch of yellow sticky notes in a row and see if he laughs...heehee. Maybe not

Anyway, I think we need to be organized before each appointment and take notes during. It's a challenge to communicate effectively with each personality we run into.
With Compassion,
Margaret
 
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missist replied to xperky's response:
so true margaret. Thank you for that insight. I guess we all have our way, so most likely they do too.
 
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Bette_K responded:
Along with the cheat sheet, bring a friend or family member.
I learned a long time ago that I had to go to the doc's with my husband, because he was to busy shooting the bull to listen to what the doc was telling him. He never knew when the doc changed his meds unless it meant carrying a new scrip to the pharmacy.

With fibrofog, I am worse than hubby. I bring my list of questions. I write down the answers. I also try to have hubby or son or friend with me. Two pairs of ears are much better than one.

Our family physician has started handing out a summary of the visit, too. It includes any recent lab results, any change in meds, any diagnoses, anything we discussed.

You better believe I save those summaries!

If you consistently have trouble talking to a doctor, you are talking to the wrong doc. Anyone who doesn't believe in fibro should never treat it. Anyone who doesn't listen to a patient does not deserve to treat that patient. At least that's my take.

Bette
 
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missist replied to Bette_K's response:
Interestingly, my current pc dr didn't really listen to me very well on my first few visits-- but one day I called to report again that I was having some odd symptoms--finally I decided to say I thought they were a type of seizure. Anyhow that day my dr was out of town--and I saw someone else & a student that was with him..
Well they listened to me and said I needed to see a neurologist.

So.. after that my dr saw thier notes and agreed. I'm seeing neuro end of July. Could have gone this week but my kids are on the way here from the other side of the country and I never see them or their little ones so I wasn't about to do anything to mess with the next week.

So the only other date that was open--I will have to wait for.

Anyhow I think I'll be able to speak up better after that experience and after all that has been said here.

Thanks so much!
Mary


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