Congratulations! You have a new doctor! You will experience many years of meaningful interaction with them! They will give you great advice, discover things about you, and help you navigate through the scary parts of your life.
Here is a User’s Guide to your new doctor:
- Make an appointment. Do you need a physical or are you having an issue that you need to discuss with your doctor? First, make an appointment (don’t just show up). It’s easy. Many doctors offer the ability to make appointments on line or by text, but there is always the old-fashioned way, make a phone call! Now that you have the appointment, you are on your way!
- Tell the receptionist why you need to be seen. They have heard it all. Don’t be embarrassed if you have a hemorrhoid the size of a golf ball, they don’t care. If you have a hemorrhoid and you tell the receptionist that you have a hangnail, the appointment time will be allotted for a hangnail and not a hemorrhoid. Your doctor will have prepared themselves for a hangnail and not a hemorrhoid and all hell will break loose when you unleash your giant hemorrhoid on them.
- Show up on time. The appointment is the time that you expect to be seated in the exam room and your doctor enters. This doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the doctor is late, but you should NEVER be late. That’s just the rules. Don’t question it.
- Bring your insurance card. Just do it. Bring it, show it, wave it around, fan yourself with it. Then politely place it back in your wallet. That was easy.
- Make a List. But don’t make it too long. If you have MANY problems, well that is unfortunate for you and maybe you should have gone to the doctor sooner. Maybe your doctor has a short attention span and you should be respectful of that. More than 3 problems (some may say more than 1 problem) and you are going to irritate your new doctor and that is BAD. Your doctor would gladly address ALL of your problems, but at another visit with another co-pay.
- Know your history. Your new doctor is going to want to get to know you because you are very interesting to them. They want to know everything about you like your family history, any surgeries or past medical problems you’ve had, if you are a drunk, or if you eat Cheetos and drink Mountain Dew constantly (Who does that? Not me). They will want to know the names of any medications that you take. Knowing the color and shape of the medication is NOT helpful. Names are helpful. Being helpful is good.
- Leave your crazy family at home. More is not merrier when you are meeting your new doctor. Aunt Sally will have nothing to offer your new doctor when she goes into the story of her grandfather’s giant goiter. It just doesn’t matter. Save it for Thanksgiving dinner conversation.
- Bring money. You don’t go to the grocery store and “forget” your wallet in the car and then get to leave with your groceries. You need to pay your new doctor. They like that. It makes them happy.
- Give feedback. This is a touchy subject. Doctors may grumble about this one. They are kind of sensitive. You will likely get a survey after the visit, maybe by email. Be honest, but not mean. If you liked them, tell them in the survey. If you didn’t, lie and say you did (you know I’m kidding, right?).
- Go Back. Now that you have met your new doctor and followed this User Guide, you have established the doctor/patient relationship. Any time that you have a problem and need your doctor, all you have to do is start back at step 1. Good luck with your new doctor and may you have many years of enjoyment!