Medical: Tips for Visiting a Doctor

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Make the most of your appointment

  1. Arrive on time. If you arrive late, it could reduce the amount of time you get to spend with your doctor, making both of you feel rushed and cutting down on the time you have to discuss your concerns. Bring your provincial health care card with you.
  2. Write down any questions or concerns you have before the appointment, and bring your list with you. Go over the list with your doctor and make sure you don’t forget anything.
  3. Don’t be shy or feel embarrassed when discussing sensitive topics. Probably, your doctor has seen the problem before and is there to help you, not to judge you.
  4. Ask everything. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about particular treatments you may have read about or heard about; but be prepared to listen to what the doctor has to say – whether good or bad. Doctors appreciate an informed patient, but if you come in and try to diagnose yourself or tell them how to treat your condition it can be frustrating for both of you. Ask open-ended questions such as “What can you tell me about this treatment?”
  5. When you are listing your symptoms, be as specific as possible. Note the duration (how long they last), frequency (how often they happen), timing (what time of day they usually happen), severity (how much they hurt), and whether there seem to be any associated triggers or patterns (for example, “they only happen when I bend over like this”).
  6. Be honest. Your doctor can only help you if he or she has an accurate understanding of what is going on. So from questions about your symptoms to your lifestyle to other medications you may be using, make sure to answer your doctor’s queries as accurately and honestly as you can. If you are taking several medications, it is a good idea to write them down and bring that list to the doctor’s office.
  7. Make sure you understand what your doctor says. You should leave your doctor’s office with a clear understanding of your condition, your treatment, and any follow-up appointments, tests, or other care you may require. If you don’t understand something ask your doctor again, or ask him to write it down, even to make a drawing, whatever you need.

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