A patient and doctor are on opposite sides of an appointment. Their opposing views have them making shocked faces at each other.

That Appointment Sucked.

A recent asthma related follow-up appointment was all kinds of disappointing. I knew that we had made a potentially unpopular decision, however, I thought we had finally gotten on the same page.

I was prepared to move forward, although I was nervous and ready to put all the back and forth behind me. I usually try to approach my decision making from a place of science and data, yet, I had been wrestling with indecisiveness. I did have a few doubts, however, I was willing to take the risks.

This all changed when my discussion with my care team fell apart. At times, I have certainly disagreed with them but generally we agree, to disagree. It may just be me, but these more challenging appointments tend to happen when I am the last patient of the day on their schedule. Hopefully, I will not be the last patient of the day at my next appointment.

How I approach appointments

It took me a few days to wrestle with my feelings after that experience. I always find it amazing how these interactions can impact future appointments. I have to admit that I have gone into appointments thinking of how a previous appointment was a disaster or how the attitude of the care team affected what I said or how I responded. This has not always been the case.

I have had some positive appointments and I think it is important to be at least somewhat hopeful when approaching. I did think this appointment would be more positive than it was. I had my notes and approached it from a place of formality.

My last follow-up appointment was easy peasy but I also was not feeling that into it. It was the time of year to break in a new fellow and bring them up to speed on my case, and my previous experiences. They were nice enough, however, I could feel how stressed they were about capturing everything and getting everything right. I was feeling well at my last appointment, in turn, I was scrambling to remember dates of previous tests, dosing, etc. I vowed to be more prepared next time.

How do you take the emotions out of certain situations?

My strategies include trying to take a pause and refocus on what is being said, instead of trying to react first. Even when I can feel myself filling up with thoughts and feelings.

My first thought was that my physician was being an ass. There were some things that I needed to hear, especially about the drawbacks of being indecisive. I wish that my physician had approached the situation with more empathy, or at least attempted to. They became hyper-focused data, what the literature said, and less about my experience.

The conclusion of this negative asthma appointment

In the end we made a decision that I hope was the best one at this time. Everyone seemed to leave feeling unsatisfied with the decision. It seemed that everyone left a bit unhappy.

This appointment felt mostly unresolved, even though I likely got what I sought out. I had come to terms with the original decision that we made together, even if I had been uncertain about it and there were many unknowns.

How should I navigate my next asthma appointment?

How do you keep a positive attitude after a negative previous appointment experience? I would love to hear about how you have made the most out of these experiences.

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