How to Talk to Your Doctor About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is serious and can be difficult to diagnose. If you have any symptoms of Lyme Disease or have had the tell-tale bulls eye rash you should be seen by a doctor and tested right away.
If you have been bitten by a tick it is even more important to see a doctor and be tested since the sooner you receive antibiotics for Lyme Disease the better chance you have of a speedy and full recovery.
Before you go to the doctor do some reading about Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment so you have some idea of how to talk to your doctor about it and what tests to ask for. Don’t hesitate to ask to be seen by a Lyme disease specialist if you believe you have the disease.
Doctors in our country today are always pressed for time. They have so many requirements by the government and insurance companies that their time to listen to the patient has been reduced to what seems like seconds. In the excerpt below are some ideas for how to communicate effectively with your doctor so you can be sure he really hears your concerns and you can get the care you need.
Remember when it comes to your health, you have to take the lead and be your own advocate.
Prioritize your concerns.
Know that your doctor may not have time to answer all 50 of your questions, so ask them in order of importance. “When a patient prioritizes their concerns it tells me they have very specific health interests, and they understand we’re both working with limited resources,” Joshi says. “It also tells me you respect my time and allows us to focus on what concerns you most about your medical situation.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for another appointment.
Ultimately, you want all of your concerns addressed with ample time and attention. So rather than trying to rush through your list of questions, if you don’t finish, ask for a follow-up appointment. Joshi says it’s not uncommon for patients to remember something they wanted to talk about as the doctor is getting ready to leave the room. In that situation, the doctor has a choice – address the concern quickly, possibly sacrificing good clinical care, or setting up another opportunity to discuss the issue. As a patient, you can take the reins by requesting a follow-up.
Be willing to communicate outside the exam room.
“Never underestimate the power of communication that’s not necessarily face-to-face,” says Joshi, who recommends patients ask their doctors whether they are willing to email. “Many physicians love that. I personally love that. That freedom allows me to instantaneously communicate with patients when I have the time for them.” Email or communication through a patient portal is particularly useful when a face-to-face appointment has already occurred and you have questions about what was discussed, or your treatment instructions.
– via US News & World Report
Additional Tips for Getting the Help You Need From Your Doctor
Here are more ideas for getting a good result from your doctor visit when you suspect you have Lyme Disease.
Clear communication and getting your doctor to really pay attention is key to a successful visit. You need your doctor’s help to recover from Lyme Disease so put in the time to get his attention and be sure that you are heard.
The suggestion below of bringing a family member or friend is particularly important and helpful if you have symptoms that are making you feel ill. When you are sick it is hard to think clearly and communicate everything that is important to you. If you and your friend discuss before the appointment what is most important, then they can help keep the doctor visit on track.
Check out these suggestions and keep them in mind when you see the doctor.
Even if you feel fine, it’s still important for you to let your doctor know if you’re having any symptoms that are new, or are “bigger” than they used to be. This includes any side effects from prescribed medications.
If you don’t understand something your doctor has told you, speak up. Also, don’t be afraid to ask “should I be worried about” types of questions
Take notes, or bring along a family member or close friend.
Taking notes during your visit (or making a recording of your visit with your doctor’s permission) can come in handy later when you’re trying to remember exactly what your doctor told you. If you have a lot of questions walking in the door, writing them down ahead of time can help you make sure you cover everything during your visit. In some cases, it may make sense to ask a close friend or family member to join you for at least a portion of your appointment. Their extra set of ears can prove helpful later, and in cases where your anxiety is elevated, a friend or family member can help you think of questions you might not remember to ask otherwise.
– via Guadalupe Regional Medical Center
Have you been seeing a doctor for Lyme Disease? Have you found any tips that help you get your doctor’s ear?