doctor's appointments: it's your time

Michelle Regan
September 27, 2018

No one likes going to the doctor. Waiting alone in a room on a firmly padded bench with only a thin layer of paper separating you from the outside world has a way of making you feel very small.

But it’s time for a change. No more confusion. No more little white lies. Your health is too important.

When it comes to doctor’s appointments, preparation makes perfect. Use this checklist to prep, plan, and make the most of your next appointment. Better yet, print it out and take it with you. It’s your health; make it your appointment, too.

Before Your Appointment

Make a list of all your medications:

  • Prescriptions like blood pressure medication, antidepressants, and pain medication.
  • Over-the-counter meds like aspirin, allergy medicine, and antacids.
  • Vitamins.
  • Dietary or herbal supplements.

Jot down notes about past health conditions and symptoms you’ve been experiencing.

List any questions and concerns you have leading up to the visit.

Ask a friend or family member to go with you. Doctor’s appointments can be emotional, overwhelming, and full of hard-to-decipher medical terms.

During Your Appointment

Discuss your notes about symptoms, health history, and problems with your meds.

Be honest! If something hurts, tell your doctor. If you haven’t kept up with their instructions, tell them that, too.

Ask questions to make sure you understand everything your doctor tells you.

If you think you can’t follow instructions you’re given, tell your doctor. Being realistic and honest is the only way to create an effective treatment plan.

Don’t be afraid to ask what your treatment options are.

If you need a test, ask questions like:

  • Why do I need the test?
  • How is it done?
  • How will it feel?
  • How do I prepare for it?
  • How and when will I get the results?

If you need a prescription, let your doctor know if:

  • You’re pregnant or nursing.
  • Having reactions to medications.
  • Taking vitamins or herbal supplements.

Find out what’s next. Ask for:

  • Written instructions.
  • Brochures.
  • Videos.
  • Websites.

After Your Appointment

Listen to doctor’s orders. These rules were meant to be followed:

  • Need clarification or have new symptoms? Don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
  • Don’t stop taking prescription meds without talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Make follow-up appointments for tests or specialist visits right away so you don’t forget.
  • Waiting for results? Call your doctor to get them.

Print the list below.

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