How to Keep from Forgetting What to Ask the Doctor When You Are in Front of Them

If you’ve ever spent your entire trip to a doctor’s appointment, for yourself or a loved one, rehearsing all the questions you want to be answered in your head, only to promptly forget them the moment your doctor enters the exam room…you’re not alone.

Doctors’ appointments can be notoriously overwhelming.

As your doctor is spewing medical terminology at you while looking at their watch trying to keep appointments within their 15-minute time slot, you might find yourself getting stuck on what one medical term you haven’t heard before means…

Or chastising yourself for forgetting your sticky note of questions on the counter at home…

Or worrying about how you’re going to relay all of this information to your family and answer all their questions…

All the while becoming more and more overwhelmed, causing you to freeze and forget all the questions you wanted to ask. This can cause emotions to run high, and even make you feel frustrated or ashamed of yourself for not being able to keep it all together.

But receiving an overload of information, with medical jargon being thrown around, making it more difficult to retain and be able to keep track of everything you wanted to be answered, is enough to make anyone’s head spin.

Doctors’ appointments require a certain level of preparation, awareness, and presence in order for you to feel empowered in them and be able to advocate for yourself or your loved one. This can be difficult to do when you feel rushed and are in a stress response. This is why it is important to set yourself up for success before your appointment.

Resourcing Yourself for Your Doctor’s Appointment 

When preparing for your doctor’s appointment, it’s important to make sure you are well-resourced. This means getting everything in order to make you feel safe and in control at your appointment.

What you need in order to feel resourced heading in, may fluctuate based on your appointment. Here are a few things to consider in order to support yourself before any appointment:

  • Who is the doctor that you are seeing?
  • When and where is the appointment?
  • How much time do you need in order to get there and not feel rushed?
  • What are you seeing your doctor for?
  • What documents do you need to bring with you?
  • Do you need to bring with you or make a list of your prescriptions?
  • Do you need to make a list of symptoms to articulate what you’re experiencing to your doctor?
  • Are you having a procedure? If so, have you done your research? What questions or concerns do you have regarding your procedure?
  • What questions do you want your doctor to answer at your appointment?
  • Do you need a ride to and from your appointment?
  • Do you have a support system in place after your procedure or appointment?
  • Who else needs to be kept in the loop? Can your doctor send your results to the relevant parties (i.e. your naturopath, GP, cardiologist, etc.)
  • Do you have your health insurance information accessible?

These are just a starting point for what questions you may want to ask and answer for yourself before meeting with your doctor. Taking the time to do this, will help to make sure that you are well resourced and ready for your appointment. And will allow you to feel less stressed leading up to and during the actual appointment, because you won’t be bogged down with all the details or fear of the unknown.

Setting Yourself Up for Success 

With how busy and understaffed most doctor’s offices are in the US these days, it’s more important than ever to prepare yourself before your appointment. This will help you feel in control of your appointment and make sure you don’t feel rushed or pressured to get in and out as fast as possible. 

In order to set yourself up for success, take some time before your appointment to make note of all the questions you have and want answered by your doctor. Questions like…

  • When can you expect results? 
  • What medication is being prescribed and will it clash with anything else already being taken? 
  • Do you need a follow-up appointment and if so, when should you book it for?

To name a few.

Making sure you have all of the questions you and your family have about the appointment written down and accessible will help you advocate for yourself and your family during the appointment. Not to mention, it will also allow you to be more present when listening to your doctor, because you won’t be spending that time worrying about forgetting your questions, making it easier for you to update those who need to be kept in the loop. Helping you feel organized and prepared for every appointment, and keeping your appointments on track. 

Feeling Empowered in Conversations with Your Healthcare Providers

It’s important to feel empowered and in control in conversations with your healthcare providers. When you feel empowered you are able to advocate for yourself and your family more effectively – which then leads you to receive better, more individualized and supportive care from your doctors. 

This begins with resourcing yourself and setting yourself up for success before your appointment. By organizing yourself, your thoughts, and questions before an appointment, not only does it help to keep your appointments on track, but it also helps you to feel empowered and in control when discussing your family’s health care with your doctors. So that you don’t feel steamrolled by the pressure to get in and out as fast as possible.
This is exactly why we created the notes function in the Acensa Health app. To help you feel organized and prepared for every appointment. Empowering you, and helping you feel confident in making decisions regarding yours and your family’s health care. Click HERE to get on the waitlist for this revolutionary health care management tool.

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