From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!
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It is ok to “Question” your Doctor!
Some may argue that there is a difference between “asking questions” vs “questioning” your doctor. Others may say it is just symantics and/or different levels of the same thing. Uncertain if either case is right, but a slight difference between “Asking Questions” and “Questioning” your physician, may exist. While few Docs may be offended by the latter, do not let that deter you … just keep on asking. However, as it is in any situation, being respectful and pleasant also helps! I will attempt to differentiate here;
# 1 – Asking Questions: This would imply that you have some (assumed) knowledge of what is about to happen and is seeking clarification. (Please do not try to “fake” your way through. If the Doc thinks that you have the basic understanding, s/he will most likely speak with you at more advance level…see #2)
- Well, I understand that there is a nodule in my lung and you have to biopsy it, but what kind of biopsy will you be doing?
- This is the first time being told that I am diabetic. Why do I have to begin with Insulin?
- I do not like the idea of taking medication for High Blood Pressure. How long will I have to stay on it? What is the plan to discontinue this medication?
#2 – Questioning your Doc: This would imply that you are not familiar with the diagnosis and you are uncertain of “WHAT” questions you should even ask. This is quite common and you are NOT alone. Start communication on a conversation level with just the basics. Be honest. You have a right to know AND understand what is going on with your body and the recommendations the Doctors are making! Here are a few basic simplified questions from the same examples/scenarios as above;
- A nodule in my lung? What is a nodule? Is it cancerous? What is a biopsy? Will the biopsy hurt? I do not understand – What do you mean “a biopsy is a procedure?” What is the difference between a procedure vs a surgery? Will I need to take time off from work?
- What is Diabetes? Is that the same thing referred to as “sugar”? What is insulin? Can I take it in a pill form? You know Doc, I truly did not understand the differences between type 1 and 2. If I have to take Insulin, do I have Diabetes type 1 or type 2? I do not really feel ill or feel anything, so why should I have to take the medication?
- What is high blood pressure? Why would I want low blood pressure, I thought that would make me feint? Why do I have to take medication? I do not like taking medications, is there something else I can do to treat this high blood pressure? What if I miss a pill, do I double up or just take the next pill? Should I take it at night or during the day?
Confession – I may speak the “Doctor language” very well but I am definitely, unapologetically in the 2nd category when I am dealing my mechanics about my car, construction workers about a building, lawyers, etc., I am admittedly behind the curve ball…and I have no shame when it comes to asking even the most basic of questions.
In the past, I had to say (quite nicely of course) … “I am sorry. Please help me to understand why I came to do a routine, on schedule, oil change (for my car), but there are 3 other things that I MUST do today? What does the transmission do anyway? Where is the windshield washer fluid? I was trying to give someone a “jump” the other day … but the battery is not under the hood of the truck? (turns out it was in the back … who knew??)
(*wink* smiling sheepishly)
Trust me, no one knows everything! AND KNOW, there is no such thing as a silly or stupid question! Especially when it comes to your health! Ask on…
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Ipsa Scientia Potestas est ——— Knowledge itself is power!
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Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!
See you next week…