Here’s the scene:

You’re at your primary care provider’s office to get your routine cholesterol check.  And you’ve got this bum knee that locks up when you’re exercising.  It’s nothing terrible – you can make it through the day.  But, man, it hurts sometime. You’re really too busy to be at the doctor’s in the first place but it happens that you’re there for this routine check so you thought you’d just throw it into the mix of things to discuss in your appointment.

Your cholesterol results look good – sounds like your exercise and eating are helping shift things in the right direction.  And you’re looking for that lucky break in the conversation to discuss your knee.

As she’s walking out the door she asks how your exercise is going and you say, “Great – it’s just afterwards my knee seems to lock up a couple hours later, it wakes me up when I’m sleeping and getting out of bed in the morning is kinda tricky though I hate to admit it.”

She babbles off a bunch of options very quickly – take this test, try this drug, have you considered stretching, maybe you need physical therapy, a few more things and before you know it she’s out the door.  No one’s fault – everyone’s busy.  Scurrying off she tells you that the nurse will be back with your paperwork and she’s outta there.

Oops – what just happened here? That was quick!  And there you are feeling confused, overwhelmed and kinda sorry you asked the question in the first place – because it’s not THAT bad.  Except, it’s really painful sometimes. 

What you’d really like is to have your knee feel better but you have no clue how to make that happen.

Why did your mind go blank?

Well, with all due respect – why is the WRONG question for things like this.

But, since we’re looking at this question of why anyway – here’s a couple possibilities.  (We’ll get to the “right question” in just a moment or you can skip down to the end of the article if you’re in a hurry)

Here are a couple possibilities why our minds go blank (and my mind goes blank many times too just for the record – ask my kids!!):

  • TMI:  It’s too much to digest when you’re given many options all at once in a short time period.  No one can take them all in and get them straight.
  • Brain Freeze:  Do you know that feeling when you’re eating ice cream and you feel it right between the eyes?   That’s the same thing that happens when you’re in the middle of this sort of thing – you can’t take it all in and it’s kinda surprising as you notice something just went right over your head.
  • Preoccupied:  Maybe the doctor’s running late, you’ve got kids waiting for you to pick up or you were supposed to be at work a half hour ago.  Maybe the doctor’s running late and SHE needs to be out of there 10 minutes ago so she’s talking quickly.  Maybe someone knocked on the door interrupting the conversation mid stream.  For many many reasons we get pre-occupied – totally human, no one’s fault and a very good reason that our minds go blank.

It’s very understandable that you’d want to know why you lost track of the conversation AND the real question is WHAT  can you do to make sure you understand what your healthcare provider is suggesting for you.

Pausing here for a moment, if you haven’t downloaded my free Appointment Preparation Worksheet, please be sure to do that by clicking here and filling it out BEFORE you see your provider.

Now, here’s what to do to make sure you get the information straight.  There are two parts to it:

  • Write it down:  Have a clipboard in front of you with your filled out Appointment Preparation Worksheet available along with a pen.  Take notes as she’s talking
  • Verify what she’s said:  Repeat what she’s said to you asking questions about things that are unclear.  This part may be hard to do if she’s already out the door by the time you’ve gotten the information written down.

Now what?

Well, this is precisely what helped me fill that crucial gap between giving clear information and getting the professional advice you receive straight and complete.

One of my favorite expressions is from my husband who used to say, “Wear a belt and suspenders too”.  This totally fits my philosophy of getting the healthcare you deserve.  Here’s the next step to making sure you have truly understand their recommendations:

You are entitled to get the healthcare that works for you. Get the story straight by using the Patient Power Process as your way to get the story straight from the get go so you can make good decisions.

After all, how can you possibly make good decisions when you can’t even remember what the options were in the first place?  Knowledge is power and your good health matters.

I’d love to hear your experiences with your Appointment Preparation Worksheet and the Appointment Summary Worksheet.

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