Making Use of Your Doctor

When a busy person goes to see his doctor, it is because he wants to get better. This may sound obvious – but often things happen so quickly, or the tests and treatment sound so complicated, that one can lose sight of one’s original goal. It can even happen that one ends up feeling worse than one was before!

Here are some practical hints to help you get the best possible treatment from your own doctor. Decide before you actually go to see your doctor, in what way you are feeling unwell. Plan how you will describe these symptoms to your doctor. Thinking about them beforehand and even writing down exactly what bodily changes you feel which make you think that you are unwell, will help clarify things in your own mind and so will help your doctor get a clearer picture of what is going on. Remember – doctors can only diagnose from the information which you, the patient, reveal to them!

Don’t underplay your symptoms – either because you feel that the symptoms are trivial, or because you are frightened that they will cause the doctor to suspect that you have some serious disease. This may sound silly but I have met patients who did not reveal to their doctor that they had a lump in the breast “because it might have been cancer”. It is far better to voice one’s fears to the doctor, get him or her to do a full examination and reassure you that you have no serious cause for worry(or, on the other hand, detect in its early stages some major ailment) rather than keep one’s symptoms hidden.

At the same time, don’t exaggerate your symptoms either.