Do you remember your family doctor stopping by the house with his black leather satchel checking in to see how you were doing? And in those days, you’d do whatever the doctor said. No questions asked.
Times have changed. Communication between you and your health care provider is no longer a one-way conversation. Now it is more a partnership, working as a team. And it should be. If your doctor doesn’t know what you are experiencing, how is she going to treat you successfully. And if you don’t understand the how’s, what’s, when’s and why’s of your diagnosis and treatment, how are you going to stay motivated to follow your doctor’s orders.
This is particularly true for older adults. We often are discussing with our doctor more difficult health conditions and treatments, affecting more facets of our lives. And what is said can be easily misunderstood. At a gerontology conference, I heard a health care professional say that after a doctor’s appointment most people only remember about half what they heard – and it’s wrong!
Here are a few tips provided by the National Institute on Aging to help you get the most out of your doctor’s visit.
1.) Be honest. Don’t just say what you want the doctor to hear – that you have been exercising even when you haven’t. Tell it like it is so she will have accurate information for her diagnosis and treatment.
2.) Decide which three or four questions you’ll ask and state them at the beginning of the appointment, so they aren’t overlooked.
3.) Stick to the point. I always enjoy the friendly small-town chats. But keep it short and get to the reason you are there by briefly stating your symptoms, when they started, how often they happen and if they are getting worse or better.
4.) Share your feelings about the visit. Tell your doctor if you feel rushed, worried, or uncomfortable. If you are confused, ask your doctor to clarify. If you are worried about your condition and would like to talk more, ask her for more time or schedule another appointment.
It’s important to stay informed – one reliable source for medical information is MedlinePlus produced by the U.S. Library of Medicine. And to ask questions. But don’t be shy. You need to be your own advocate or find someone who will be. And if your doctor keeps brushing off your questions and symptoms as simply you’re getting old, you might want to look for another doctor.
You can learn more by visiting the website www.nia.nih.gov/health. Or even better, on Wednesday November 7th at 11:00 at the Center, you can attend a presentation by Nicole Pashek ANP on “How to Talk to Your Medical Provider” where you can ask questions and share your doctor-patient experiences.
The name of the first network television western series broadcast on NBC starting in 1949 and starring William Boyd as a reserved and well-spoken hero dressed in black who traveled the west on his white horse Topper was Hopalong Cassidy. (I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Alice Mattox, Harold and Lucile Stephens, Sharon Hull, Jerry Taylor, Diana Weston, Lana Tepfer and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Beverly McKinney. And as usual, last week I missed Carol Earl and Mary Collins.)
Back in the day, the new technology was television and we all watched with anticipation shows on the “Big Three” networks: NBC, CBS and ABC. It was one of those national experiences we all had in common. And to some degree, you can say the same about popular music when we tapped our foot to the top 40 hits on our favorite AM radio station.
So for this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the second most popular recording artist of the late 1950s (behind Elvis) with thirty-eight top-40 hits including “Love Letters in the Sand”, “April Love”, “Ain’t that a Shame”, “Don’t Forbid Me”, and “I Almost Lost My Mind”; and at the age of twenty-three, hosted a half-hour ABC variety television series from 1957 through 1960? Email your answer to email@example.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send your answer with one of the five issues of the DC comic book series in which this recording artist starred.
Well, it’s been another week living in the now because I can’t remember yesterday. Until we meet again, always do what you can – until you no longer can.
“I told the doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places.” Henny Youngman