1. “If you are not taking your medication as prescribed,Â tell me.”
We all know it to be true, it is an easy fib we tell our doctors. “OfÂ course I am taking my medication at the same time, daily.” ButÂ why exactly do we fib? More than likely, we feel bad admitting weÂ are not following doctor’s instructions as we should, or we reallyÂ dislike taking medication.
What you can do: Be honest with your doctor and let themÂ find a solution for you.
2. “If you are going to miss or be late to an appointment,Â please let my office staff know.”Â
General Practitioners hate waiting on patients equally as much asÂ patients waiting for their turn. Though patients are our top priority,Â time is valuable, and if you are simply running behind, you willÂ probably have a shorter appointment as a result, and everyoneÂ after you will as well.
What you canÂ do: If you cannot make an appointment, cancelÂ as early as possible.
3. “If you are taking supplements or alternative therapies,Â tell me.”
“If you are taking alternative or complementary therapies, itÂ is important for your doctor to know that,” advises Dr. SteveÂ Chambers, a family physician, and past president of the AlbertaÂ Medical Association.
What you can do: Clue them into a complete picture of yourÂ current health practices and views.
4. “You need to lose weight.”
Weight gain (and loss for that matter) is a highly controversialÂ subject due to self-image. Though it is definitely important to feelÂ good in your own skin, many forget the health issues attached toÂ obesity. It is a precondition of approximately thirty-five differentÂ health problems, including cancer, heart disease, organ failure,Â and depression.
What you can do: Admit your weight is a health risk and beginÂ taking steps towards correcting it.
5. “Tell me what you are worried about right away, notÂ when you are leaving.”
“You spend time with a patient on an ingrown toenail when theÂ real problem is chest pain,” says Dr. Sharon Salloum, a familyÂ doctor and the director of clinical skills for first-year medicine atÂ the University of British Columbia. It is understandable, patientsÂ are apprehensive about real health concerns, but concerns areÂ those that deserve the time.
What you can do: Make a list of issues you would like toÂ discuss, give the list to your physician and he or sheÂ will prioritize.
6. “You do not need a prescription.”
“It always happens–especially with antibiotics,” says Dr. ShelbyÂ Karpman, an Edmonton physician. “Patients have been trainedÂ through past history, through media, through friends, that if theyÂ walk out of a physician’s office without a prescription, they haveÂ not been treated properly. Quite frankly, there are not many conditions that need antibiotic treatment. I have numerous patientsÂ who come in with cold or flu symptoms–for which antibiotics areÂ not warranted–who insist they need an antibiotic. I take the timeÂ to explain that antibiotics do not work for viruses, but a numberÂ then go to a walk-in clinic, where some of the physicians are lessÂ interested in patient education than in churning patients through.Â They write a prescription, and the patient walks off thinking, “NextÂ time I have a cold I will come here, I will not see Karpman.”
What you can do: Remember many illnesses can be curedÂ with non-medical treatments.
7. “When you come to see me, be clear in your mindÂ about your symptoms.”
Doctors are intelligent, but they are not mind-readers! Know howÂ you are going to explain your symptoms to your doctor beforeÂ your appointment to ensure the best treatment!
What you can do: Be direct, concise and accurate aboutÂ your symptoms. Know when they started and how oftenÂ they are occurring.
8. “Do not expect me to renew a prescription over theÂ phone. There may be a reason why I need to see youÂ again.”
Doctor visits begin the minute you walk into the clinic. ThereÂ is more to an office interview. Your physicians check the stateÂ you are in, how you are walking, etc. Many factors go into theÂ decision-making of whether your prescription is working. For example, if you are on a blood pressure medication, your physicianÂ will check your blood pressure.
What you can do: Make sure you understand how manyÂ times you can repeat the medication, and be understanding when your doctor will not fillÂ a prescription overÂ the phone.
9. “Please wash before you come to see me.”
We understand you may be seeing me after work, but you expect me to be professional, and there are times when smells,Â for instance, can be too much to handle.
What you can do: Please take care of your basic hygieneÂ so we can focus on the current concern.
10. “Do not expect me to read dozens of articles youÂ have downloaded from the Internet.”
Say it with us now, “Wikipedia is not my doctor.”
“The Internet has more disinformation than information,”Â warns Danforth. “We had a pilot who argued with us over theÂ fact that we would not let him fly, and who proceeded to bombard us with 1,500 pages of information he had downloadedÂ from the Internet. Not one of the pages had solid scientific information based on peer-reviewed studies–but it did supportÂ his position.”
What you can do: Ask your physician for credible sites ifÂ you would like to further research an issue.