As we get older, it seems, at least for many of us, that our trips to the doctor become more and more frequent. To make things worse, our trips are no longer one-stop shops. There’s a different doctor to see for every medical ailment affecting our bodies. This means, of course, that we go to the cardiologist on one day, the neurologist on another, the eye specialist on a different day—you get the picture—and in no time we find we are spending most of our time lining up transportation and then sitting in waiting and exam rooms. The doctor pops in, and before we even know what’s happened, he or she is running out, saying, “I’ll see you again in three months.” And after he or she is gone, you realize you didn’t even get a chance to ask all of your questions!
Many adult children in the sandwich generation accompany their elderly parents on hospital visits. Whether going for yourself or with your elderly parents, here are some ways to ensure that you make the most of both your and the physician’s time and energy:
- You will be more prepared if you write down your questions as you think of them before seeing the doctor. Keep a running list of them on your refrigerator or somewhere else that is handy for you. When you go to the doctor, take the list with you. All of your questions will be right there so you won’t have to rely on your memory, which is especially important if the doctor is in a hurry and wants to rush out the door.
- It’s a good idea to take someone with you. There are several reasons for this. Maybe your hearing isn’t so good or your memory isn’t what it used to be. Having another person with you lessens the chance that you may not hear or understand everything the physician is telling you. Also, if you receive bad news of any kind, you’ll have someone with you to support you. And, most importantly, you can go out for lunch together afterwards!