I often do the same thing....forget I mean. I take a note with me with all the pointers I wish to ask. I tell them my memory is not so good any more. They are usually quite ok with me and my shopping list!
A good way to not feel so intimidated is to think of them going to the toilet, or naked, or having a fight with their wife/husband....makes them seem more human. I have told a few people that. One friend of mine who used to be shy to start with, was always too pleasant to the docs, she would beat herself up for not asking more. So, when I told her to do the humanising trick, she got the giggles in the doctor's rooms so much they asked her if she was ok! She then found she was suddenly more assertive and got her questions out. yay!
I used to hate it too, feeling like I was wasting time on 'imaginary' problems. I then decided, since I am employing them, which I am by paying them, that I had the right to ask what ever I bloody felt like! So, now I do!
Follow up on the email in a week if you hear nothing. They are often extremely busy. Often emails sometimes seem to disappear. Personally I would write a paper letter and send it. Keeping a copy for yourself. Keep doing that till you get your questions answered!
All about empowerment. It's YOUR disease!
My reason for keeping quiet is because if you really tell them your ACTUAL symptoms, they would think I was a hypochondriac, sensitive to pain, a complainer.
I think I have been made to feel like I was exaggerating my symptoms, so I quit explaining and only go when it is a dire emergencey. I no longer complain about my leg aches, night sweats, unable to maintain weight. I just deal with the symptoms.
Example: I for some reason develope peri annal abscesses, I now just wait (in pain of course) for the abscesses to be 24hrs before rupture to go to dr. that way it will drain on its own at home and I do not have to get it cut and lanced. I will no longer go to regular dr. for complaints unless it is something that you can physically see upon examination.
I know not a good idea, I do however go to my Endo for my check ups, but never bring up anything bothering me.
Too long of a story to write on why I do this, but I have learned if it is not able to be seen upon examination, don't bother explaining, they will offer you anti-depressants.
I have the eerie feeling that I wrote this myself! This so totally describes how
I feel and behave while in the office. Last month, I brought my list in. I left
a couple of things out while I was in there, but most of the issues were
discussed, and therefore more symptoms are being addressed and
evaluated. I also use e-mail, which in my HMO, goes directly to the
doctor. So I can kinda hide behind it and ask more direct questions and
feel a little more in control. If I sat there complaining about every symptom,
I would probably start bawling, then they'd up my anti-depressants! Anyway,
thank you for so eloquently putting into words what I'm guessing many of us
are afraid to confront while on that little table with paper on top.
redheadaussie.....I'm going to use that toilet idea. That definitely levels out the
I worked for doctors for almost 12 years and that really makes you see them as people, cuz, you get to see them in different situations. I think one of the reasons that we are soooo accommodating is because that is what we have all been taught since kindergarten...be nice, smile, don't draw attention to yourself, don't whine or complain. Yes, I am guilty of the doctor's office brain freeze, too! So, I started bringing my cheat sheet with me and most doctors are pretty good about it, and yes, there are some, who, as soon as they see that piece of paper, get this condescending smirk on their face and kind of chuckle to themselves. While you would love to say what the he!! is so funny, I am starting to think of this...WE are paying them, so essentially, they work for us and WE are their boss!! It sort of helps to take them off of their lofty perch and brings the situation back down to earth and reality...they are no different from us mere mortals and certainly no better than us...and it is okay, to ask questions and expect to be treated with respect and dignity and to be heard...it's not only okay, it is our right...hope any of this helps you...I am still working on it myself...:)
I used to have a doctor that dismissed my complaints, just a reg doc, who once told me that I was just "getting older". Well, that was enough. I found a good doctor who will listen, he has this awesome female PA that is worth gold. I am comfortable with both of them. I could tell them anything. They have excellent bedside manner, they listen, they do not make me feel insignificant. Sure, instead of five miles I now drive 25, but the peace of mind is worth it. You all deserve a doctor who is a caring professional. and I hope each of you find that doctor. When you do, you will know it.
A list is great. Or rehearse, word for word, in your mind exactly what you are going to say., then just say it.
I have no problem with my Doctor but with one of the receptionists who works for him.
When I was going through the 'graves rage' stage and demanded that my thyroid be taken out by my butcher (yes I know I was graves crazy lol !), this woman gave me the most horrible attitude on the phone telling me that my Doc couldnt see me for a week.
Well..when your Doctor has told you that should I need to see him urgently to ring up and they will fit me in and this woman telling me blatently that he CANT see me...I just saw RED !
I even asked if he could call me after seeing patients and she said she would relay the message (the one he didnt get).
Well to cut a long story short, I went down to his practise...abused the hell out of her in tears, told her I wasnt leaving until I saw him (this was my first episode of thyroid storm unbeknown to me) .
She ranted and raved and when he came out after seeing another patient, he saw me immediately and then called an ambulance.
Four days later, I had an appointment to see him and felt a little 'uncomfortable' waiting in the waiting room.
He then called me in and apologised about the incident.
On my way out he said to her, if Debbie ever rings to see me...dont ever turn her away!
From that day on, this woman has never spoken to me (she gets another receptionist to deal with me) and gives me the filthiest looks.
BUT no matter what, I will not intimidated by her.
That was over a year ago and I still go to this Doctor as he treats me as a person not a number and has been brilliant in my recovery.
But I will never forget her attitude as long as I live.
Because of her, I couldve died that day.
Dont be afraid of telling your Doctor everything.
It could just save your life.
I have actually gone to the dr's with the list in my purse and still forget to pull it out of there... Don't know if I need to pull the thing out of my purse or out of my.........well...hmm...nevermind that.
Hmmm I'm the boss and the doc is sitting on the lew....I could use that....
I had a dr that dissed me once...I didn't like her...I had not yet found you folks...but had started to do some research and I asked her about a little test that I took on line, it said I was like 67% likely to be hypo and 63% likely to be hyper...I was asking if I had been misdiagnosed with straight hypo... she said in this low deep slow voice...with kind of a laugh in it..."oh honey, don't your worry about such things...just let me do my job" She moved away..I was so glad and then one of her partners is the one who said...has anyone ever said anything to you about Hashimoto's thyroiditis? They worked in the same office...how could they be so different?
And smilerdeb, I know just what you mean about the dragon lady at the front desk...I have one of those now...the other day when my hand was swelling up, I called and she said in this snotty little voice "well...there are 4 people on hold on that line already...do you want to wait or call back later?" I never did call back...I so was not in the mood to deal with her. I'd of thought you say spider bite or allergic reaction and someone would say, maybe you should just come on in...we'll find a dr.
Oh well...that's my soap box on this side of things this evening. Time to go see if I can annoy or enjoy someone on the social side.
i do the same thing. good idea to right down all your questions and symtoms, and at the end go over the list. just tell the doctor you didn't want to forget anything, i think they think your a better patient if your prepared, that way he/she thinks they covered everything, also bring all reports, tests with you also. and any questions too. don't feel embarrased. its there job to answer your questions, most like to anyway.
I had forgotten about my dragon lady episode too! This was back when I was not diagnosed and I was having episodes of extremed dizziness..(bit like I am having with these new multifocal glasses!) Anyways, I had been on the anti-depressants for a long time and this particular day I was REALLY bad with the giddiness and nausea. I asked to see my usual G.P. whom I call by his first name...Dragon lady said, rolling her eyes,"No you can't see him. Make an appointment and come back tomorrow" I was a bit shaky and weepy trying to be strong. I explained what was happening. She yet again said in a tone that made me feel she felt I was just attention seeking ( I WAS seeing him every week for years by the way!) "How many times do I have to tell you? He is busy with patients!" Well, I went to the chemist and asked for some iron tablets thinking maybe I was too low on iron. I took them and waited 25 minutes all the while getting worse and worse and worse....the pharmacist looked at me and asked if I was ok. I said, "I think maybe I am just too low on iron....I think I'll be ok to go now."
I staggered, crashing into a display, managed to get outside and collapsed! Luckily for me my close friend who worked in a real estate agency saw me and took one look at me and threw me in his car, drove me to the doctor and demanded I get to see my doctor! Dragon lady was NOT impressed and went on to give a tirade of why I couldn't see him....My male friend said, "Look if you don't get him to see her right now I will ....." he never finished as my doctor came out, wondered what was going on, saw me and then he ran to me, totally upset, basically picked me up and took me to his room. I was a babbling heap by then! heart rate up, spinning room,. feeling like I was about to drop dead....SHE told me it was an anxiety attack...yeah right!
Need less to say, Dragon Lady was chastised and hauled over the coals....she was always sweet to me after that, through gritted teeth.
I still don't know what the heck was wrong with me...if it were a thyroid thing or the anti-depressants all I know is that it was bloody scary!
Sometimes the docs are great but the receptionists are darn control freaks!
Speaking of dragon ladies reminds me of my day I had RAI.
I went to the Hospital....was waiting at the desk when the receptionist said....'Take a seat while I get yr file. I looked in front of me to see a file with my name on right in front of me!
I told her my file was in front of her and handed her my RAI sheet that the Endo had filled out.
She looked at me and said..."Dont tell me how to do my job".
I looked at her and just stared..tears welling up in my eyes.
Thats when she said to me...we are pretty busy today, you may have to rebook as they have you double booked.
I looked at her then and boy , was I angry!
I then held up the sheet of paper and said to her...." I've waited 12 months for this cr@p, Ive been to hell and back, you cant find my file when its right in front of you and now you tell me to RE-BOOK????"
Well...I created a bit of a scene (I was well known for those in my Graves Rage days lol).
I then told her that if she was so damn blind that she couldnt see my file and was going to rebook me...that I wasnt leaving the Hospital until I had...had RAI.
I told her if I had to sit there until the next booking she made me, I would!
I then told her..."No wonder people dont want RAI, having to deal with people like you!"
Boy...did I really go off!
I felt bad afterwards but then realised that I was a PERSON and deserved the treatment that I was supposed to get...not line up like a lamb to slaughter and wait my turn when the appointment was already booked and that the Hospital only did 3 RAI cases a week.
Gees...you sh@t yourself going for RAI, without the added pressure of meeting a clerk like that!
Needless to say, the Doctor came out and showed me to the Nuclear Room and it was over 15 minutes later.
Sometimes I wonder whether the whole medical system has gone to ruins.
Although in those 'Grave Days' I was someone completely different than I am now , someone who was 'desperate for a cure'.
I think in 'those days' I wouldve done anything to stop me being the way I was, as I was not 'living', I was 'existing'.
Since that day, I have never looked back and dont think I could ever handle those days ever again.
I read my journal beside my bed and its like I am not the person who wrote it. The person who wrote it has desperation in her words, hopelessness and sheer he!!.
I am not that person anymore.
And I thank God for everyday that passes now that I did have RAI.
The key is a good doctor. I had to deal with a few idiots before I found a Dr who would listen to me. I used to write my questions on a piece of paper but found that my eyes were getting so bad I couldn't read what I had written! Now I type out all the questions on my computer and bring the list with me. My Dr expects me to have that list. He actually appreciates the fact that I have it. It makes both of us feel comfortable; I have my answers and he knows he has addressed all my concerns. He knows in the long run that if I have information to deal with it's easier for me to process what is going on. It also saves both of us the time of having to call after the appointment to answer the things I forgot to ask. I used to feel odd about having so many questions; wondering if my Dr would think I was a hypochondriac or not. I got over that. I'm asking a question because I need to know something and the reason doesn't really matter. I'm not there to make the Dr happy or make his/her life easier; I'm there to take care of me.
I think that it's SO important to go into the Dr. armed with EVERYTHING you want to know and ask pertaining to your symptoms and your diagnoses...... you never know what symptom might be the "ah ha" moment for the doctor. Sometimes things that seem benign and stupid to us are really medically linked to real disorders and we should not be embarrassed about mentioning everything. I like to keep a journal at home of what symptoms i feel so when i talk to my Doctor i can let him/her know of any patterns that I've noticed. I know that sounds kind of silly but in a way, when you have something really tricky to treat or dx like a thyroid problem, sometimes you have to do a lot of the detective work for the Dr.
You should never be ashamed for feeling bad and needing to go to the Dr. however the Dr. should be ashamed of himself if he lacks the perception to legitimize your symptoms and help you find answers. It would be embarrassing to have to look someone in the eye and admit that you don't know how to do your job effectively.
I do sometimes word my questions and symptoms to the Doc in a way that makes them feel special and knowledgeable to answer.... here is an example of a question I might ask: "Is it a stretch to assume my chronic headaches and dizziness are caused 100% from my hypothyroidism or should we be looking for another cause and running more tests?" Now in that sentence I've given a symptom, and i've stressed that i am looking for an answer and I've made it difficult for the Doctor to dismiss it, and i've implied that i think we need to do more testing. It's not telling the Dr. how to do their job but it's making sure I cover all my bases. I try to avoid reading the Dr. a long list of symptoms but I do try and make sure i cover everything. If your Dr. is good, he/she should be able to tell you what symptoms are related and what you can dismiss.
I think of my self as the evidence collector and my Doctor as the forensic unit that interprets it. i tell her everything i feel, and she tells me which info I give her is useful and what is not.
cheers! and try not to worry about what your Dr. thinks, remember most Dr. want to do a good job, they don't want to embarrass themselves either! lol.
I've tried taking a list with me to the doctor's office, but since I've been dx'd hypO/Hashi, my doctor has already "determined" that I'm a hypochondriac and if I'm lucky, I get through about 1/4 of my list before my "5 minutes" is up. The rest is pooh-poohed away, the doctor walks out and I'm "dismissed".
Only once did he come close to listening and that was after my endo had put me on cytomel and when my pcp found that out, he said "well, I recently read that some people don't do well on synthroid alone". I think THAT appt might have lasted 7 minutes, rather than the usual 5.........lol
BTW - I will most likely be making an appt with a different pcp when the time rolls around for my physical in Sept.
I think making an appt with a different pcp is a great idea. That's what I did.