In business, a seasoned negotiator always makes sure that everyone possible is united and on his side before entering the board room to make a deal. The last thing a CEO wants at the end of his presentation is for someone on his own team to say, “Well, that’s not exactly right.” That would be an embarrassing blow to his credibility. Seasoned patients and caregivers should understand the same concept. The last thing YOU want is to present the medical facts to your doctor, or your child’s doctor, and then have your partner say, “Well, that’s not exactly right.”
One way to avoid this unfortunate situation is to take time BEFORE your next doctor appointment to agree with your partner (or whoever is accompanying you) about what you plan to discuss with the doctor. Not only will this conversation prevent unnecessary disagreements in front of the healthcare provider, which can erode your credibility, but it will also compel you to use the doctor’s time and expertise wisely. Bickering with your partner about whether your baby woke up six times or eight times in front of the doctor is really not a good use of anyone’s time.
Our son sees a wonderful, but very busy gastroenterologist every three months. In-between appointments, my husband and I make notes of what we want to ask him about. Invariably, our list is longer than the thirty minutes the doctor has to spend with us. What we have found to be extremely helpful is to agree before the appointment which items are the most important to discuss with our son’s specialist, and then list them in order. We also agree on what we want to report to him. That way, we are efficient with his time and our time, and we come away from the appointment knowing we did the best job we could, covering the most important aspects of our son’s reflux.
Published On: March 22, 2007