Monday, May 12, 2014


When the doctor opens the door to the examining room, my mind has been known to stop working.  We start talking on one item, and then I get home and wonder why I still don't have the referral or some answer I want.  

My brain-brake or suddenly getting tongue-tied can be worse if the doctor hints I may have something serious, or if he mentions possible causes that may be the problem of another doctor, like my spine surgeon who is in another state.

Especially if he talks about a remedy I am scared to take, I need to know what to say.

I need to put a list of important questions on my bulletin board (or refrigerator) and learn them.  


What is the most urgent of the symptoms I just mentioned? 

What is the most serious of the symptoms I have?

(After tentative diagnosis:)  What else could this be? 

What is the simplest way to find out which disease it is?

(When the doctor says: We should take this symptom seriously, so you're on a three-month visit plan) What do I do about it in the meantime?

What is the simplest thing I can do about it?

What is the most important thing I can do about it? 

What's the phone number of that referral?

Will insurance cover this medicine? 

Can I stop the medicine if I have a medium serious problem with it?

The number one question I should have asked before lumpectomy and radiation: Exactly how do I reach you by phone if I have a serious trouble with this medicine/illness/treatment after hours?  Sadly, staff members can forget that we are perhaps overwhelmed.

 As I've blogged before, at the radiation center, I didn't know I would need directions to get a pager - no answering service?  (I hadn't called a pager for years.) When we're hurting unexpectedly at night, we need to know exactly how to get help, so don't go home without an answer.  And don't be shy about calling again:  at least one message I left with a service lately was never delivered.

So now I will hang up my list of these questions and actually learn some of them?  Do you have others to share here?

I wish you health

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