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Preparing for Medical Appointments

Below you can find information on how to prepare for medical appointments alongside a packing checklist of what to bring to appointments and investigations.

The template below could be useful for you if:

  • You get brain fog

  • You get anxiety in medical appointments (perhaps due to past negative experience; I definitely do!)

  • You have a complex medical history 

  • Have been gaslit by medical professionals in the past and want to clearly portray your full case and advocate for your medical needs

In general, preparing for medical appointments can help to:

- Streamline your thoughts and aims for the appt
- Ensure key info isn't forgotten
- Save time for the doctor 

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CHECKLIST FOR BEFORE THE APPOINTMENT 

- prepare well in advance
- list all pre-existing conditions, previous surgeries + procedures
- highlight the key issues to be addressed / resolved
- write a symptom diary a few weeks / months before
- list relevant treatments you've tried and their efficacy
- list all of your current meds and supplements
(+ dosages)
- jot down possible questions to ask about prognosis

+ next steps
- add previous relevant medical letters and results
- ensure your preparation doc has been emailed before

(if possible)

CHECKLIST FOR ON THE DAY OF THE APPOINTMENT 

- bring a notepad and paper to jot key info discussed, or type notes on your phone (if in person) or laptop (online)
- ensure your preparation doc has been emailed before (if possible)
- if no printer or not possible to email before, then attach your document as a PDF, write the subject + message. At the start of the appointment, ask for their email address to send if they wish to view
- if you do have a printer, bring one copy for yourself and another for the doctor
- ask the doctor if they don't mind you voice recording the appointment for you to refer back afterwards to for key information
- aim to:
    1) first present all symptoms (without labelling as a condition)
    2) allow the doc to draw their interpretations and conclusions,
    3) then later on (if necessary) ask "could it be..."
- if possible, have someone with you who knows your medical history

(to help in case you 'go blank' etc.)
- note that some doctors may like the document, but others may prefer not to go through the document together and solely hear your experience directly from you. Regardless, the preparation can still guide you with useful prompts to ensure that nothing important is forgotten and key information is fresh in your mind
- try not to sugarcoat your symptoms or experience; remember that your experience is completely VALID

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Once you have filled out the document and it's ready for your appointment, you can export as a PDF and email it to the doctor's secretary before the appointment. This may help a lot when it comes to understanding your case (I've even drafted the email for you below)

[Subject box]  FAO: DR ____

 

Hi there,

 

My symptoms and medical history is a little complex, so I thought I'd send through some notes for Dr____ ahead of the appointment (/call) today, that may help them understand my case 

 

All the best,

What to bring to medical appointments and investigations?

  • Comfy loose fitting clothes and a vest or short sleeved top in case of tests

  • Aids & supports: For me this is a coccyx cushion with a waterproof case and a neck collar for support on transport

  • A large lightweight bag to carry everything in

  • A bottle of water and both sweet and salty snacks

  • Precautionary medications and pain relief

  • Headphones, downloaded music, series or movies and a book

  • Cards to help you advocate on public transport

  • A medical appointment preparation document

  • A mask, tissues and sanitiser or toxin free hand soap!

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Is there anything you would add to the template that I haven't included? I've tried to make it as generic as possible but if there's anything you'd suggest that may be able to help someone else please get in touch using the button below!

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