I am sure that you’ve been reading in recent articles how physicians are finally trying to incorporate the minds of patients into the healing process. That is long overdue. In fact, the concept is still not part of the curriculum in medical schools, where the art of healing is first introduced to future doctors.
Whenever it is necessary to visit a physician, just remember that you own your body and you, or somebody close to you, had better help you to mind it. I am sure that you, like me, might feel a little uneasy about going to see a physician, mainly because you are afraid the practitioner might tell you something you don’t want to hear. With all of the medical information concerning diseases that is presented in the media, it is no wonder folks are afraid.
Many folks feel that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. Well, you know as I do that belief systems can be dangerous because. When things begin to hurt, it might be a signal that the disease condition is well on its way and is trying to tell you something. It is, therefore, most important to mind your own body by getting yearly checkups, even when things are not bothering you. If, on the other hand, you are experiencing bodily discomforts that you can’t explain in a rational way, I would suggest that you visit your physician.
I would now like to give you a piece of my medical mind on what questions you should ask your physician. First of all, the physician might ask you what you chief complaint is. I would advise you to write down on a piece of paper at home all your complaints, before you see the physician. You should be able to give a complete description of the discomfort and how long you have had it. Whether you experience it daily, once a week, a month or even a year. A thorough physician will also take a good medical history from you, covering all the systems of the body. Also, a good social and work life history is a must. It might take longer than the allotted 15 minutes but, hey, it’s your time to give all the information that might have some bearing on the medical condition you are concerned about. Finally, a complete physical examination should be done from head to toe. After you dress, it is extremely important that the physician take time to explain the findings and what diagnostic tests might be necessary to come to a medical conclusion. If you do not understand the medical terms, ask the physician to break it down to you in laymen’s terms. Ask the physician to write down the diagnosis so that you can explain it to a family member. The physician should be kind enough not to use medical terms that might be frightening. It is very necessary that if there is a language difference, that a relative accompany you to the office.
To mind your body and mind it well, I would suggest to you the following:
- The best doctor, even if they are listed in the New York magazine, might not always be the most considerate doctor. As the old saying goes, “You may not be able to choose your parents, but you sure can choose your doctor.”
- Remember, it’s your body and you are somebody, not just anybody!
- Write down all the symptoms that you are experiencing, because as soon as you see the doctor, you will forget most of them.
- Bring all the medications you have been taking, including over-the-counter herbs, vitamins, tonics and stuff that your family might have given you.
- Ask the doctor kindly to explain your condition in medical terms that are understandable, because you have never taken a course in biology or chemistry.
- When the doctor gives you a slip of paper for diagnostic tests, ask him/her to explain the need for the test, as well as what to expect at the diagnostic center.
- Because the doctor is not on duty 24/7 year-round, ask him/her to write down the doctor who covers for him/her when he/she is not available and get the phone number.
- Make friends with the office nurse. She is the main person who can reach the doctor when you call.
- A short note of appreciation or a greeting card to the doctor means a lot. A physician’s life is not easy. And whether you believe it or not, physicians are human, have families and have many of the same problems that you have.
- Most of all, try to stay healthy with a positive lifestyle. Eat well, exercise and give some time to your spiritual life. Remember, it’s time to mind your body.