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You just waited two hours for a doctor who's running late. Once in the office, the doctor zips through a jargon-filled speech, orders a test, writes.
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Technology is our link to the outside world for work and fun. Depending on what body part your operation involves, you may not be able to type, text or dial the phone. Consider doing the following before your surgery:. Then you won't feel guilty or stressed if you can't. I used Dragon Dictate. Just be sure you train on it in advance. None of my shirts fit over my cast! The fashionista in me couldn't survive for too long wearing my husband's cut up old sweatshirts. I had to shop for tops that had bell sleeves while I was feeling horrible and barely able to try them on. Figure out any wardrobe limitations if any prior to surgery so you can have what you need when you need it.

They give you lots of drugs after surgery, and any of them can have side effects. If you don't need the hard-core painkillers, stop taking them. I got by on an over the counter anti-inflammatory after the second day. If your pain worsens, you can always go back to the stronger stuff. I don't know about you, but everyday hygiene like flossing my teeth and taking a shower are extremely important. After surgery, I couldn't do either of these simple tasks on my own, including putting the waterproof sleeve over my cast.

You'll need a partner, friend or health care worker to help you.

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When you're clean, you'll feel a lot better. Anesthesia and pain meds are hard on your gut. It's important to restore your gut with clean foods and broths -- veggies, fruit, soups, herbal tea, probiotics and plenty of water. How long have you experienced symptoms of anxiety? Have you just recently began having symptoms of anxiety, or is this something you have dealt with for many years? What other health conditions do you have? Your doctor should be aware of all of your health conditions, even those that are minor. What medications do you currently take?

Make a list of all medications, including vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and supplements that you are taking.

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The more information you can share with your doctor, the better although you don't want to write a book. This will help your doctor better understand your situation. In addition to information about you, you may also want to write down any questions you have. It is easy to forget your questions.

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Having them written down will help you remember. Your doctor will probably complete a physical examination and is likely to take blood samples.

He or she may also ask you to go for further tests, depending upon his or her initial assessment. Have you had blood tests or other baseline diagnostic tests but still have no clear diagnosis? Be sure to write down your specific reasons for seeing the specialist beyond the obvious one — that your PCP referred you. In many instances, the PCP will have his or her office staff set up your initial visit with the specialist. While this does take some control out of your hands, most of the time having the staff make the appointment works to your advantage. The staff will have pertinent information from your PCP about how quickly you need to be seen and what the PCP thinks may be your medical issue.

The staff can also provide you with any special instructions in preparing for the appointment. Before seeing a specialist you should also check with your insurance company to make sure you follow their rules for specialist referral. Depending on the insurance plan and the specialist you are seeing, the insurance company may require that your PCP submit a record of the referral to them.

Without your medical records, including test results, it will be much more difficult for the new doctor to get to the root of your problem. Information technology has changed how we communicate in health care. One example of this change is the emergence of the electronic medical record EMR. If the new doctor you are to see works within the same health system as your PCP, there is a good chance that he or she will simply be able to pull up an electronic version of your medical record on the computer.

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If an EMR is not available, then the new doctor will have access to a handwritten paper chart. This allows your PCP to send your medical records to the new doctor. It is best to submit this form a week or two before your appointment with the new doctor to allow enough time for the records to arrive at his or her office. If you will be seeing the new doctor in less than a week, you may want to ask your PCP whether you can get a copy of the records and carry them to the appointment yourself.

The release form may allow you to specify the records you want released. If this is the case, and you are seeing a new doctor about a specific medical issue only rather than changing doctors completely , be sure to include all records dating back to when you began experiencing symptoms, including all test results since that time. Your medical records, however, do not tell the whole story of your health. You should, therefore, prepare for your first visit with a new doctor by writing down a complete picture of your past and current medical conditions and treatments.

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Pulling together this information ahead of time reduces the likelihood that you will forget important information that will help your new doctor make a diagnosis or prescribe effective treatment. The information you will want to collect includes the following:. Having all this information on hand can help the doctor immensely. For example, if a symptom you have been experiencing is due to an over-the-counter drug, your doctor will be able to make the connection only if he or she knows that you are taking the drug.

If you take many medicines and feel it might be confusing to write them all down, plan to bring all the bottles to your appointment to show the doctor. However, some doctors are willing to send out the forms for patients to look over and fill out ahead of time. See if this is a possibility with your new doctor. A second way to prepare for your first office visit is to complete a symptom diary. A symptom diary is a daily record of the symptoms you experience over a period of several weeks or months. Each entry should start with a description of your symptoms followed by the time of day the symptoms occurred, the length of time they lasted, anything that may have relieved the symptoms, and any other factors associated with their onset.