Sugar Matters
August 31, 2010
Make the most of your clinic appointments

I was reminded by a patient this week that many patient-doctor relationships are still the way they used to be: where the doctor does all the talking for about 10 minutes, asks the patient a few questions, then changes some medications and walks out of the room. Sound familiar? Goodness I hope not, but I am sure for some of you this is the usual script for your clinic visit.{{more}} This patient I spoke with in the hospital informed me that he never asks any questions during his visits. He shows up, his doctor talks to him for a few minutes then gives new prescriptions and leaves.

Hmm, I thought, this might be a good time to remind my Vincy family about what they should strive for in their clinic visits. And before I get all kinds of vexed letter from your doctors, let me also say that I am WELL AWARE that clinic doctors in St.Vincent are extremely busy and pressed for time. I am not saying at all that you should plan on talking with your doctor for 2 hours while 50 people wait outside for their appointments. However, you should think about your upcoming appointments and plan ahead so you can make the best use of your time there, AND yes you should expect your doctor to at least TRY to answer your questions within reason. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your visit:

1) GO TO THE APPOINTMENT!!! Yes this is obvious, but I thought I should throw in a reminder to please keep your appointments, for those of you who, ahem, “miss”, “forget”, “don’t have time”.

2) Think about what problems you have been having. Blood sugars still too high? Having symptoms of low blood sugars? Forgetting to take the second pill in the evening? Run out of medication since last month?

Sometimes it helps to actually write down the issues you have and bring the list to your doctor. All of us, myself included, forget some things that at one time we thought were important enough to discuss. Write them down!

3) Bring your medications with you, or a list of them. And when I say medications, I mean ALL OF THEM-that includes what this doctor prescribed, what any other doctor prescribed (from another clinic, from the hospital, your niece doctor from overseas, from your next door neighbor doctor etc), medicine you bought yourself without prescriptions (like aspirin), and of course the bush medicine. If you don’t bring the actual medication, at least be sure to tell your doctor about everything you are taking.

4) Pay attention to what your doctor is telling you. Please do not zone out during appointments. Do not answer your phone. Do not keep interrupting your doctor with arguments. It actually makes the clinic visit unpleasant and frustrating for everybody. There are fewer ruder things in my opinion than answering your cell phone during a medical appointment. Take the phone off or leave it at home.

5) Now that you have paid attention to your doctor, it is your turn to ASK QUESTIONS. Please ask questions. Your medical team of your doctor and nurse is there to help you both care for yourself and understand your medical issues.

Those are a few reminders. Make that next clinic visit count!

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227