Chronic Illness, Contentment

How To Be A Prepared Patient

Tomorrow I’m heading to a long-awaited  appointment.  This specialist should be able to tell me if I have Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma or not.  After many disappointing appointments, I’m trying to prepare myself.

patient

Because this doctor is a nationally-recognized specialist in diagnosing this disease, I do have hope that she’ll give me a definite answer.  Isn’t that what we all want the most?

Many times I’ve shown up for appointments and had totally wasted my time.  When you request records to be sent to your referring doctor, you expect them to be there.  But, I’ve shown up and the records weren’t there.  This delayed diagnosis by three months, when it should have been so easy.

I’ve now decided to print off all my records and take them with me, just in case.  If you show up without recent blood-work records, they will just order more.  Not only does this cost me tons of money, it wastes my time and makes me suffer longer.

Other things to bring include: list of medicines and doses, insurance card, and all medical records.  My medical records folder is so big that I’ll need to bring them in a large tote or briefcase.  I probably won’t need these, but you never know what will come up when a new doctor is trying to diagnose you.

Spending a little time to write down questions that you have is very important.  I’m forgetful anyway, but these questions that I have are important to me and could be helpful to the doctor.  You could put these in your tote, too.  When the doctor is done they will usually offer a print-out summary with instructions.  If you aren’t offered this, make sure to ask for it.

doctor

Before appointments I always do some research online.  I know that some people say to stay off medical sites, but I go beyond WebMD and read research studies and try to get a full and balanced view of literature.  Don’t be afraid to read research.  I was introduced to this in graduate school, and it got much easier after the first few attempts.  You can do it!

The bottom line is: we want good healthcare, correct diagnosis, and help to improve.  As an informed and prepared patient, we have a much better chance of finding these things.  I’m hoping and praying for this to happen to me.  I want the same for you!

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert.  All posts are my opinion.  If you have a medical problem, please consult your personal physician.

@2018, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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