The Ideal Conversation
One issue that a lot of us suffer from is white coat syndrome when it comes to conversations with doctors. There are a few issues that can cause this.
One is that you feel like you are being rushed, or you don’t want to take up your doctor’s time with a long conversation. The other is you forget what you are going to say until you get to your car, then it all comes rushing back.
How I prepare for my appointment
Of course, the simple way to resolve this is to write down what you want to talk about or put it into your phone. I usually text myself questions, and then I can just read them off my phone when I get to the office.
Don’t worry about taking up too much of their time. Think about what you are paying them, and that should instantly make you not care about taking up their time. These are some of the topics or questions I consider to make an ideal conversation with your doctor.
Talk about your PAP machine and its settings
The CPAP machine I have is about 8 years old. If you own a cell phone or a computer then you know in 8 years technology advances at a crazy pace, and I am sure my machine is out of date at this point.
Yes, it works, but it isn’t ideal and doesn't have as many functions as I could use for a better night's sleep. Ask about your settings, make sure they are working. Have your memory card checked, if you can, to make sure you are getting what you need from the machine.
Talk about what new machines and features there are. Find out if your insurance will pay for a new machine yet. Ask about accessories and other items you may not even know about. This is your time to get every dollar you pay for your doctor, so make them earn their paycheck.
Ask about sleep apnea-related side effects
You may feel a little more tired than normal or have issues with congestion, making it hard to use your machine. If you don’t stay on top of your health and monitor your body, no one else will either.
I always make sure to let them know any little thing going on, even if it seems insignificant. You may say something that triggers a thought or conversation your doctor wants to have based on experience. There is never any symptom or body warning sign that is too little to bring up.
Even if your doctor seems dismissive, make sure to ask specifically if they think it is something to monitor and what it could be. I would rather be wrong or sound “silly” a million times if that one time I did catch something major rather than not mention anything and never catch a problem.
Ask every single question you have
Of course, when it comes to the ideal conversation with your doctor, it is specific to you and what is going on, but there are a few things we should all discuss every visit.
Make sure you are asking your doctor every question, even if you think it is minor or they will think it’s stupid. They won’t think it's stupid, and if they do, they won’t tell you, so who cares. You are paying a lot of money for their time and expertise, so make it worth it.
Do you struggle with insomnia?