I find it absolutely amazing how many people go to a doctor and just expect him/her to come up with all the answers in a ten minute meeting. I'm not sure how you can expect someone to figure out what's wrong with you in such a short period of time. No doctor can do this unless you've got a broken bone sticking out of your skin.
You have to help yourself to get the medical care you deserve. You have to do WORK. You can't rely on someone to know all of your complaints, medical history and family history without laying it out for whomever you are seeing to get a diagnosis or follow up for a disease.
You might argue that if you give a doctor too much information, he/she will think you are a hypochondriac. If you are NOT a hypochondriac and the doctor thinks you are, you have several options:
- You can walk out of the office right then and there. This doctor is not the doctor for you.
- You can fire the doctor after the appointment.
- You can file a complaint with the doctor's office and the State Medical Board.
There is no reason for a doctor to dismiss you or treat you as a hypochondriac because you are acting like you want to get well.
Homework before an appointment. Get a binder and compile the following information.
- I can't stress enough that making a clear comprehensive list of your symptoms in a logical order (top down or body system) will help your doctor. Date this list and keep a copy. Make a copy for your doctor. Stay away from mental symptoms specifically if you're female. Depression is a catchall.
- Personal heath history, list diagnoses that you already have, head injuries, body parts that have been removed. Date it, copy it, put one copy in your binder give the doctor the other copy.
- List all medicines and supplements you take. Note the times you take them and doses. Date it, copy it, put one copy in your binder give the doctor the other copy.
- Family history of causes of death and diseases. Date it, copy it, put one copy in your binder give the doctor the other copy.
- Make a list of the three most important questions you want to ask the doctor about. Leave plenty of space to fill in the answers. Date it, copy it, put one copy in your binder give the doctor the other copy.
- Get copies of all of your medical records and labs as far back as you can. If you reside in the US, you are legally entitled to all of your medical records. If you are refused your medical records, this is a HIPAA violation. You have legal recourse. I like to organize these records in my binder by year.
- Get copies of all of your labs from now on. It's easiest to REQUEST COPIES BEFORE YOUR BLOOD IS DRAWN. You can ask to have them faxed, emailed, etc. DON'T BE A PATIENT PATIENT, SHIT, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET AN APPOINTMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE?? IF YOU HAVE YOUR RESULTS BEFORE YOUR FOLLOW UP, YOU ARE SAVING TIME. YOU WILL BE AN EDUCATED CONSUMER. YOU WILL GET BETTER FASTER.
- Do you think you suffer from a specific malady? Want a particular blood test? GET COPIES OF MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION.
- medscape.com is an awesome resource
- Google Scholar
- Bring your binder with you to all doctor appointments.
Generally, I think people are too lazy to do the above steps. If you are and you can't get a diagnosis, DON'T COME WHINING TO ME. If you do all of the above steps and can't get diagnosed, shoot me an email, post on the www.addisonssupport.com forum. We'll brainstorm and figure something out that might help you get a diagnosis.
Once you get in to the appointment, hand the doctor copies of your symptoms, personal health history, meds/supplements, family health history and list of 3 questions. The questions should be on top and in order of importance. Hold off on handing the journal articles to the doctor that back up your point. IF the doctor balks or denies you, hand him the article that's specific to the question.
If you are given a script and/or lab orders, don't blindly take the meds or get the blood work done. Take 20 minutes to google your script. Check the FDA's orange book for drug interactions. Talk to your pharmacist and ask lots of questions.
BEFORE GETTING LABS DRAWN:
- Go to labcorp.com and read about each and every blood test
- Print out each protocol
- Do you need to fast? Get the test run first thing in the morning? Eat before getting the blood drawn? Is there a special protocol?
- If you need to get the tests done under certain circumstances, DO THE TESTS RIGHT! Bring the protocol with you. If the test requires a lavender stopper, centrifuging and to be put immediately on ice, discuss it with the tech. MAKE SURE IT'S DONE RIGHT. Usually techs are more than accommodating and want to get it run right so you don't complain to the hospital and refuse to pay for the test (that's what I do!).
This is too long of a post. I'm done and I hope it helps.