Do you ever feel like a deer caught in headlights when your doctor is talking to you? It’s funny, I remember taking my kids to the doctor, and every time the doctor would ask them a question, they would look at me to answer for them – even after they moved out.
Your physician may spew a hundred words and acronyms you have never heard a day in your life and give you a list of prescriptions of which you probably don’t know their purpose or their multitude of side effects. Good doctors genuinely want to help, and hate to see you suffering. How can you ensure you get the most out of your doctor’s visits?
1. Vet Your Doctor
Your doctor is someone with whom you will have to be the most vulnerable. It is so important that you can have open conversations with them about everything from habits you try to hide, to hair and odors you know are not natural. Everything. Ensure that your primary care physician is not only listening to you but asking you thoughtful questions to better understand your situation. Your healthcare is individualistic and it requires a two-way conversation in order to be effective. Open communication between you and your doc is one of the most empowering feelings. I assure you, great doctors who care about you, are willing to have an open conversation with you, and help you heal are out there!
2. Bring A Notebook
Think back to when you started your first job, or a new hobby. There were a lot of things that were new to you. You probably had to study, and test your knowledge repeatedly to improve your ability to manage and advance in your skillset. Your health is no different. When your doctor speaks, it is so important that you understand what they’re talking about. How can you carry out true healing if you don’t understand anything about the visit besides leaving, handing a pharmacist a blue script, and receiving some drug for God-only-knows-what?
I remember talking on the phone with my grandmother, and she told me about her doctors’ visit and nonchalantly explained that she needed surgery for something in her stomach. I asked her why, and she had a hard time trying to explain the reason – because she didn’t know. Gathering as much information about that visit as I could from her, I realized her doctor diagnosed her with stage 4 cancer and she had no clue. This was devastating. She was one of my favorite people in the whole world, and because she most likely suffered through countless doctors’ visits where she didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, she wound up dying of one of the most painful diseases in America. It all could have been avoided.
Bring your notebook to your visits. Be sure to have your questions and concerns in order before your appointment. During your appointment, as your doctor is talking, it is almost no different than meeting with a coach or a mentor. Write down your questions, take note of the action steps they give you, and ask your questions as the doctor concludes addressing each issue. If you don’t feel comfortable asking in-person, schedule some time to ask questions over the phone.
3. Bring A Friend
If these conversations feel too daunting to have alone, bring a trusted friend with you. They can reassure you, ease your anxiety, and provide accountability if you want it. Make sure they are a positive person who will help you see the bright side of things, and find hope and joy in new solutions and lifestyle changes.
You know how you search your symptoms on WebMd and suddenly, you’re worried you have 3 days to live and that your sibling’s crazy story about you being adopted from a family of chickens that chemically evolved into a human might be true – all from researching a headache? We all have WebMd people in our lives, just check your Facebook feed. Do not bring your WebMd friends to your appointments.
4. Do Your Research
Getting valid information from credible, evidence-based sources and verified websites will kick down endless barriers between you and the wellness you seek. Understanding treatments and drug options as well as growing your knowledge of your body’s functions and needs help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor, which gives you the power to have deeper conversations and reach more efficient solutions for yourself. What a superpower!
Education can be an uphill battle. You can spend hours googling and watching youtube videos, and doing all the things, only to hit dead-end roads, conflicting information, and frustration. If you’re looking for a place where you can effortlessly grow your understanding of your health, ask questions freely, and advance your ability to care for yourself, iHeal is the community for you! You receive:
- Hot topic masterclasses
- Coaching and informational guides
- Monthly expert Q&A’s
- Recipes and pop-up cooking classes
- Free and Members’ only pricing for live and public events
- A community of health-minded individuals who want to live life to the fullest just like you
- And more
Sounds like a match made in heaven? Learn more here.
If you have questions about a recent doctors’ visit or health concerns that you’d like to brainstorm through with a certified health coach, let’s chat about it.
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