If You Make a List...Use It!

Before my doctor appointments, I most often make lists of items I’d like to cover during my office visit. For my biannual appointment with Dr. Smartypants, AKA my respirologist (Canadian for pulmonologist), I made such a list, containing 3 items: whether it’s worth another trial of Singulair for my allergic rhinitis, when or if I should have allergy tests redone, and if I should get the pneumonia vaccine. I tapped these notes into my phone a week before the appointment, and checked it over the night before.

Now, I don’t know if it was because I got to clinic 2.5 hours early thanks to a friend giving me a ride, or all the holiday cheer going on in there (there was free Chinese food for hospital staff that day), or the fact that the combination of the two and some cancellations allowed me to get my appointment moved two hours earlier, thus enabling me to leave the hospital much earlier. Or maybe it was that Dr. Smartypants didn’t call me in to the office herself and her nurse actually did my ACT-in-disguise/recent history (at which point I did mention it might be worth discussing redoing my allergy testing). But regardless, I epic failed at the items on my list!

Once Dr. Smartypants had been briefed by her nurse, we discussed the normal ups and downs of California breathing from September, and my recent three-week adherence streak on the Nasonex (nasal steroid), and how things are generally going—well, for the most part. From the rhinitis discussion around Nasonex stemmed the discussion of Singulair—we’re going to give it another shot and see how it affects my sinuses, since I was more focused about getting my asthma under control when I was on it like five years ago and didn’t at that point know I even had allergic rhinitis. But that was the ONLY BOX I CHECKED OFF.

People. PEOPLE. If you make a list, the whole point is to LOOK AT IT. Because I walked out of the clinic and made my next appointment and was like...
…I had two other things on my list.

Fortunately, I can easily enough connect with my family doctor’s office to refer me back to my old allergist for testing to be redone. I can ask my pharmacist about whether or not I should get the pneumonia vaccine at this point in the season, and if it’s covered for me by the province. I have solutions.

But seriously, the one thing I remember to cover is Singulair, which was not even useful to me in the past? C’mon, brain! Santa isn’t the only one who needs to check the list twice!

A reminder to all of you—and for myself until the next time I forget—if you make a list, remember to use it at your appointment! It doesn’t do much good otherwise!

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