Recently I read Dr. Peter Ubel's RANT in Psychology Today, and also on his website. I especially liked to a paragraph where he discusses how physicians respond (or don't) when we are scared. I had recently written that it might be my fault when I've gone home without getting answers or even asking the right questions. This one paragraph from him made me feel better about how much I can absorb when I'm scared.
Right now I'm meeting all new doctors in my new state. In an appointment with one new doctor, although she has my complete medical history, she didn't seem to know or believe how scared I could be about the possible results of the next text. Her "Relax!" was not what I needed to hear.
Other patients have written, and even been quoted on the air about fear of the next test, that may give them new bad news.
If you're interested, read his Rant on PT, or Shared Decision Making on his website.