Do you get nervous when you have to see a health care professional? It’s been said that the American health care system exacerbates anxiety in consumers or patients. Gone are the days of personal attention. Now we have a 15-minute time slot with our primary care professional. Sometimes I wonder if that 15-minutes starts when the doctor enters the exam room, or when the patient enters the office. Sometimes I think, it’s a tossup depending upon providers being on time or behind in their schedule.
If you have a good relationship with your primary care physician, or that physician’s assistant, being nervous may not be an issue. As human beings go, nerves can be an issue. Sometimes, being nervous can make you forget what your questions were. The ticking of the clock is loud in a doctor’s office. Not really, it’s only loud in our heads as we cope with the possibility of a diagnosis or lack of diagnosis while trying to keep questions in our heads for the appropriate time after the exam.
Intimidation can be a factor too in the quality of health care provided. When our nervous systems are already jumping, the personality of the professional can make or break the success of that visit and future visits. The next time you call for an appointment, you may be inclined to say “…anyone but….” In fact, with many practices switching to electronic health records and practice management systems, intimidation is more than the scrubbed profession. It’s easy for me to say don’t be intimidated by the portable technology, but I know, especially with senior patients, technology is intimidating.
If a serious health problem is a concern, don’t hesitate to bring someone you trust along for the visit. Even if you don’t take notes. I recommend notes, but the extra set of ears is helpful when nerves are taut. By the way, bringing a buddy is not reserved just for senior citizens. Apprehension and anxiety are common to us at some point. Be good to yourself. Be well.