Call The Doctor!
Last updated: October 2020
I have questions and concerns. Some of them are so trivial that I'm embarrassed to ask. Others are really important - at least they are to me anyway. I often agonize over whether to call the doctor or not. Nobody wants to be a pest, but we don't want to ignore a health issue either. It's useful to have a strategy before picking up the phone.
These tips can help you get the answers you need...
By jotting down the main concerns, you have a chance to think about what you will say. Now write it in the form of a question. This one is tough for me. I tend to tell a story and then the nurse goes, "So what are you asking"? Looking at my notes helps me stay focused.
Write down facts
If there is a symptom, write down how long you have had it. If there is a question regarding medicine, write down the dosage, and the last time you took it. I think of Sgt. Friday on the old tv show: "Just the facts, ma'am".
Be an early bird
By calling in the morning, your medical provider may be able to squeeze in a response more quickly. Some offices only return calls at the end of the day. By calling early, your name is at the top of the list.
Dial it up
If you leave a message with someone, ask for their name. Then write it down, along with the time that you spoke with them. If you are recording a message, try to use your notes as much as possible.
Leave some information
Give your phone number. If you think a caregiver may be answering your phone, let the doctor's office know that it is ok to speak with them. If you are ok with them leaving a message, let them know that too. I get frustrated when I've waited for a callback and then miss the call. One time I called right back, but had to wait til the next day. Argh! Waiting is tough.
If you are leaving a message, ask what time you can expect to hear back. That's a reasonable request.
It seems like it is always an emergency for me. I lose my meds, or look up and find that I don't have enough left. This was the worst where it was my anti-anxiety pill that I was out of. Sometimes, it is the only way I can get to sleep< and I've been known to have a fit over running out. The other biggie was my treatment meds. Having a pen and paper ready is the best way to get ready for answers to your questions. You can write down an appointment time, or any advice you get. Your notes are in front of you too, and that helps you to stay on track. When you wonder what is going on with your body or your medications - call the doctor!!