Here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your doctor’s appointment. Many of the tips can also be useful for other meetings with medical staff, e.g. physio therapists.
Write down your talking points
If you have anything you want to bring up during your doctor’s visit, write it down beforehand. It is easy to forget during the appointment.
Keep a notebook
If you have a condition that will require multiple doctor’s visits, it can be a good idea to get a notebook and use it specifically for this purpose. You can write down questions as they arise, make a note of things that you need to inform your doctor about, and so on, and know that all your notes are safe in the notebook and won’t accidentally be forgotten during the appointment.
A notebook will also provide you with a “history” of your appointments, and you can go back and look at previous discussions points if necessary.
If you want to, you can also write down your doctor’s answers, orders, and recommendations in the same notebook, to have it all gathered in the same place.
Bring someone with you
You are allowed to bring someone with you to your doctor’s appointment, such as a friend or family member. They can support you during the visit, ask for answers and clarifications that you might not think of yourself in that intense moment, and afterwards they can help you remember what was said and done. This can be especially important during emotionally intense conversations with medical staff.
Chose a person that you trust, someone that you know will be supportive and who will always put you first in this situation. A person who has emotional breakdowns at the drop of a hat or is likely to monopolize the doctor’s time with their own questions and theories is not a suitable choice.
Ask for permission to use a recording device
Ask for your doctor’s permission to use a recording device, such as the recording feature on a cell phone. This way, you can go back afterwards and listen carefully. You can also let a trusted friend or family member listen to the recording, instead of you having to re-tell the whole appointment to keep them in the loop.
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications
If there is something that you don’t understand, or find contradictory or confusing during the appointment, speak up and ask for a clarification.