When You Don’t Want the Doctor to Stay Away


Like most women, I’ve had problems communicating with my doctor – both in being understood and  being taken seriously.  When I started writing this post, in the back of my mind was a statistic that I’d read about women not seeking medical care for fear of being chastised about their weight. In looking for the exact study (which I didn’t find) I came across some other statistics from the Commonwealth Fund from a survey done in 2004 that were just as startling.

  • Most appointments are 15 to 20 minutes unless the patient has specifically scheduled a longer time.
  • Just 44 percent of patients think their doctor always spends enough time with them
  • Almost a third (31 percent )of adults with a serious illness said they left the doctor’s office without getting an important question answered

This made me appreciate even more the program that Green Mountain runs in concert with Joslin Diabetes Center, where participants have several hours with a board certified diabetologist, and the heads of behavioral science, nutrition and exercise physiology. With the white coats off and in a dynamic educational and experiential setting, women that saw themselves as “patients” transform into the “captain” of her healthcare team. It’s been phenomenal to watch as well as experience during the past 4 years of this unique program.

Here are some crucial tips to help you be a better “captain” when you visit a member of your healthcare team….

A. Prepare and rehearse a concise description of your symptoms.

B. Make a prioritized list of your health concerns – pain first, general changes in your body, and the stray hair on your chin last (remember, visits are only 15-20 minutes long, so most worrisome first).

C. Record the names and doses of all medications you take and why you take them.

4 responses to “When You Don’t Want the Doctor to Stay Away”

  1. Gina V says:

    As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t read the other writer’s posts, so that I know all my ideas are fresh. When I posted this morning, I did scroll down to CeBe’s post, as I could see the title (“The state of your health – getting answers”)…and I found that she and I have written almost the same post, back to back. Well, cross my heart, I didn’t peek at her’s and I know she didn’t peak at mine. It does highlight the struggles that even intelligent women like us ;-D have with medical care. I spent last week seeing a series of doctors, which prompted my post. Just goes to show ya…

  2. Cindy says:

    I saw another one today and could write a diatribe just from that experience. I think a world’s record…in and out in about 10 minutes after waiting over 45 minutes to see him. I know nothing more than when I went in! UGH!

  3. Madison says:

    Try a CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practioner)! Mine works in concert with my Internal MD (also PCP) but really cares, listens and takes the time to see me. I even have my hubby seeing her now. My PCP seemed to have developed a 3 question limit (real or perceived) and it was frustrating, at best.

  4. Lori says:

    I second Madison on using a Nurse Practitioner. I see on at my Ob/Gyn’s office and she really cares, listens, and spends the time with me that I need. She is the one person in that office that I trust.

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