Bridge the communication gap with your doctor

Most people think that doctors possess supernatural powers, that they can locate pain and its severity by one look at the patient. Unfortunately, this is not true. A doctor will not understand your agony unless you speak it out. Elderly patients often refrain from explaining the nature and depth of their pain. Some patients forget to talk about their problems. Others think that the pain they are experiencing is not worth revealing. Unfortunately, their reluctance can lead to misdiagnosis, or ignoring the symptoms of serious diseases. It is therefore necessary to bridge the communication gap between patients and doctors.

Most patients are hesitant or embarrassed to state their problems. Some do not know how to express their agony in clear terms. The difficulty is that a symptom or pain cannot be treated unless the doctor clearly understands how it is adversely affecting your life. Therefore, the most essential step, before entering the doctor’s office, is to make a list of all the symptoms and pain that you are experiencing. Categorize each symptom as per its severity and write down the factors that are producing it. Write down in detail the exact location of the pain and its intensity on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is unbearable pain. Try to recollect what started the pain, and its current nature of occurrence, that is whether the pain is continuous or intermittent. Find out which body positions enhance the pain, and which positions relieve it. Describe the intensity of the pain during the day, and at night. By noting down this information in advance, you will be in a better position to explain your agony to the doctor in detail.

Some doctors are always in a hurry. They fire a few quick questions, and then move on to the next patient. If you want more attention from your doctor, ask for more time when fixing your appointment. Another method is to hand out a list of your ailments to the doctor immediately after meeting him. The list will help the doctor slow down his pace, and ask more targeted questions for each symptom. State what you expect from the doctor in clear terms. For example, state that you would like to alleviate the pain without the use of any drugs, or you would like to know the reason for a particular symptom. This will help the doctor address your concerns more accurately, rather than guessing the intention of your visit.

Choosing the right words is important when interacting with your doctor. You do not want to narrate a long never-ending story, nor do you want to employ so few words that the doctor ignores your symptoms. It is advisable to prepare for the doctor’s appointment beforehand, so that you can get maximum benefits without boring your physician.

Some doctors explain their diagnosis using a lot of medical jargon. Do not be shy to ask questions, or ask for a simpler explanation. After all, it is your body and your pain. You have every right to know what is wrong with you. Do not hand yourself blindly to medical treatments, your life and future is at stake. If you still do not comprehend details of the diagnosis or the treatment required, ask for a second opinion from another doctor. Seeking second advice now is always better than filing medical malpractice lawsuits later.

Most doctors are there to help you, so provide them all the information they need. Communicate effectively, and cure your symptoms and pain the correct way.

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