Very often we leave the doctor’s office only to remember that we left out a major complaint. Some patients immediately rush back to the consulting room totally oblivious of the privacy that that the next patient is entitled to. They expect that as they walk in the doctor should ignore the seated or positioned patient and attend to them. That is totally outrageous. Others go home and continue to live with the condition hoping to be healed miraculously.
Most of us will be extremely lucky to spend fifteen (15) minutes with our doctor and this time is often much shorter in countries/communities where the doctor-patient ratio is so low that at best it can be described as criminal. To make the most out of our time with the doctor we need to PREPARE. If your condition is an emergency then you do not have the benefit of time to prepare.
A MUST DO!
Kindly ensure your personal hygiene is excellent.
• Take a good bath and brush your teeth
• Wear clean clothes that also make undressing easy especially if you need to expose some areas for inspection/examination.
Remember that doctors are human and when you are unkempt you may not get adequate contact with your doctor.
RESEARCH ON THE SYMPTOMS
If you have access to the internet or a book worth its salt you may read about your symptoms or wait to read after your doctor tells you your diagnosis. An informed patient is a delight to work with but we also appreciate the fact that not everyone has the luxury of getting information.
Remember that if you need to research on the internet it is essential that you use a reputable site.
IN TUNE WITH YOUR COMPLAINTS
1. Write down your complaints/symptoms if you think you may forget
2. If you have had a similar problem and have the results of any investigations e.g. Laboratory tests, x-rays, CT scans etc kindly carry them along
3. Let your doctor know if you react to any drugs
4. Be truthful about any medications you have taken for the condition, if you do not remember the names make sure you go with the containers
5. If you have any other medical conditions (and medication) make the doctor aware
6. Remember to make a note of the following
a. When did the symptoms/complaint begin?
b. How long have you had the symptoms?
c. Is it getting worse?
d. Does anything make the condition worse?
e. What makes you feel better?
f. Is anything related to their onset?
g. How often does it occur?
h. How long does it last e.g. in pain conditions as well as rash, allergies etc
i. Does anyone else in your family have them?
j. How do they affect your daily life?
k. Is it related to work or home?
You may need to modify these slightly when you have skin lesions, swellings etc. This list is by no means exhaustive and you may not need to find answers to all of them before getting help but they will definitely help you ace the visit to your doctor.
If your doctor books you for surgery, do not leave his presence without finding out the following:
a. Will you go home on the same day of the surgery?
b. Will you need assistance to go home or can you drive unsupervised for instance
c. What form of anaesthesia will you be given?
I need to emphasize once more that the consulting room is NOT only for the sick. Talk to your doctor, have a medical check-up, learn to live right especially in our setting where “prevention is better than cure” is screaming at us on a daily basis.
See you in the consulting room soon.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Dr Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.
Thought for the week – “prevention is certainly better than cure BUT when you fall ill seek a cure immediately instead of holding unto preventive measures only.”