The idea is simple: doctors are always in a rush, so it’s a good idea to make the most of your time with us.
Make a list of questions, and bring it with you to your appointment. Then, instead of covering it up and hiding it from us, let us actually look at it. Trying to keep it to yourself makes us anxious–we don’t know how lengthy it is.
Here, then, are the 10
commandments best questions distilled down for you to ask by the “Questions are the Answer” program [followed by my interpretations of them]:
- What is the test for? Why are you doing this to me?
- How many times have you done this procedure? Fair enough, but do I really want to know?
- When will I get the results? If you send me a results letter, will you tell me what the heck a nanogram per deciliter is? Which one is the ‘good cholesterol’ again? How can cholesterol ever be good?
- Why do I need this treatment? If I don’t feel bad, why do I have to take these pills? Examples: high blood pressure or diabetes. I guess that’s why you call them ‘silent killers.’
- Are there any alternatives? What happens if I don’t do what you say?
- What are the possible complications? Do I want to know the answer to this question? I HATE those ridiculous TV commercials that list all those side effects.
- Which hospital is best for my needs? Can you really answer this or is it just assumed I’ll go to YOUR hospital?
- How do you spell the name of that drug? Why would they name one drug zantac and another one xanax? Don’t they do the same thing?
- Are there any side effects? See # 6. Yes, I’ve seen those commercials.
- Will this medicine interact with medicines that I’m already taking? Beside some obvious no-nos, like blood thinners with anything, we don’t really know and it’s pretty much keeping our fingers crossed.
Then of course, there is my personal favorite: “Is that the pink pill or the white pill?”
News flash: your doctor has no clue about the size, shape, or color of your pills.