By Alan Ettinger, M.D.
How many of us have returned to see our doctor and later kicked ourselves for forgetting to talk about an important symptom? On your first visit, your doctor had to learn all about you in a very short amount of time. On the follow-up visits, your physician has to recall what was discussed on the previous visit, go over your test results, and see how your condition has responded to the recommended treatments. That's a lot to review in a short amount of time. If you have many medical problems, it's easy to forget the things that need to be discussed.
If you want to avoid this common problem, you need to organize your information BEFORE you see your physician. Here's the information to prepare:
* Date you last saw the doctor or spoke over the phone
* Name and description of each medical problem (keep an ongoing list of your medical issues)
* Medications: name, dose, and any changes in dose since the last visit
* Side effects
* What labs or X-Rays were done since the last visit?
* When and where were they performed?
* What do you think are the main issues to be discussed?
* What questions do you want to ask?
In the next issue, we discuss "Call of the Wild" or How to Handle Telephone Communication with Your Doctor.
Dr. Alan Ettinger is Chief of the EEG and Epilepsy Division, Long Island Jewish Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New Hyde Park NY. Dr. Deborah Weisbrot is Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic, University Medical Center at Stony Brook, NY. To view an online video clip from a recent TV interview with Dr. Ettinger, visit www.healthylivinginfo.com or www.essentialpatienthandbook.com for additional tips.