Is It Taking Forever To Get Info From Your Doctor?
It has been one of those days where nothing seems to go very quickly. There is a huge traffic delay on the way to your appointment. Elevators in hospitals always seem to be in one of two categories, broken or slow as molasses, you rush to your appointment to discover that there is a delay in seeing the doctor, inpatients there were called into an emergency. I am pretty good at being patient but I recently found myself getting impatient. This week I have been waiting for some tests results. Nothing critical, just a recent cold that did a usual inflammation number on my lungs.
I have impeccable timing for getting sick on long weekends or holidays. I managed to make it to the last day of a long weekend before the dreaded, “I think I am getting sick” stepped in. Ugh, the worst feeling. Especially, since I had some upcoming work travel that was coming up and it would be very difficult for me to cancel this a particular trip. Like most things, it began with that funny sore throat and runny nose feeling. I recently learned from my ENT that there a LOT (like hundreds) of reasons people have a runny nose and it is one of the most common symptoms. It was also a symptom that I was experiencing. If it was truly a cold, there was not much I could do besides taking good care, fluids rest, all the things our mom's tell us to do. The worst part was I have a pretty friendly asthma cough but with good control, I have managed to keep it mostly in check.
It is okay to be frustrated, however, make sure your frustrations are pointed in the right direction. Telling your doctor where to go, and how to get there is probably not the best way to build that relationship. There are ways to approach your frustration in a manner that will help you get the information you need without burning any bridges.
Tips to help get quick help from your doctors
Be polite, courteous and understanding with your care team. They are people too and you don't want a prickly personality incident to land you at the bottom of a call list or becoming a low priority.
Have all your facts ready to go and be specific in the information that you are looking for. Are you looking for clarification on a treatment plan, a medication they prescribed or test results? Understand the way they will communicate results to you. It is best to get this information beforehand versus multiple calls or emails to the office. Will you always need to be in the office to receive information? Will they provide information by telephone or is there a scheduled time to call the office to receive results or information?
Beware of the gatekeeper, it is wise to get a sense of who your best connections with doctors office or hospital clinics are. Is it a trusted secretary, assistant or nurse? These people are your best allies, they will help guide you through the specific system at your doctor's office.
Not every doctor or nurse would spend extensive amounts on the phone or provide information from secure hospitals servers, for more complex needs it is best to be respectful and book an appointment to follow up on information that you may need clarification on.
If you are still having a tough time getting information, stick up for yourself and be proactive. By knowing the chain of command, understanding the processes and following directions. You will have a better chance of accessing the information you need and want and advocating for yourself.
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