Do you feel really comfortable with your current rheumatologist? Are you able to discuss all of your questions and concerns with your rheumatologist? If the answer to these questions is no; you are not alone. A surprising number of patients report that they fell rushed when they visit the doctor’s office and often leave without understanding what was discussed during the visit. It is important to be able to communicate with your physician at your visit. Your health is at stake.
It is a good idea to make sure that before your next visit you are prepared. If you have blood work that is due near the time of the appointment make sure it is done and the doctor has had the opportunity to look at the results before your appointment so that you can discuss the results while you are there. Make a list of questions/concerns for the doctor. Prioritize the list so that you cover the most important questions first. If you do not completely understand the doctor’s response to your question, let them know. Don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify something for you. If the doctor wants follow up testing or changes in medication, make sure you understand any side effects and/or necessary information you may need ( ie. time of day to take meds or have test done, fasting, non fasting, etc…) before you leave the office. If you feel as though you did not have all your questions answered at the visit; don’t be afraid to call the office and ask for the doctor to call you back when he/she is free to answer your questions.
If you have done all this and still do not have your questions answered, your concerns addressed, or if you feel you are not being heard, and are rushed, it may be time to find a new doctor! My first rheumatologist was an extremely intelligent doctor, and a professor at an Ivy League University but we did not communicate well with each other. After interviewing several other doctors I found a rheumatologist that is the right fit for me. I am comfortable discussing all my issues with my physician and I always feel like her focus is on my wellness at all times. My questions are always answered, I never feel rushed and I always feel that my health is of paramount importance to her. It may take some time to find the right rheumatologist, but it is well worth the effort.