MS symptoms: Preparing for Doctor Appointments

PreparingThe specialist inquired: What brings you here today? A difficult question to answer when you have memory issues and feel pressured by the appointment constraints. I talked in circles, had a difficult time focusing which frustrated him. Nothing seemed to be going right. I couldn’t remember my issues all at once. We moved on and another issue would pop up. Then another, and after leaving the most important symptoms came to mind but my long awaited appointment was over with no way to add those thoughts. Though I came with some notes, memory issues were new to me. It was that day I decided this would never happen again. Productive doctor visits begin with fully prepared patients.

Protocols for My Appointments:
1 – I come with my appointment organizer (see below)
2 – At the beginning of the appointment, I cover each section of the document with the doctor quickly and then go back to the reason for the visit and questions.
3 – I take notes with my pen on my sheet.
4 – At the end of the appointment, I review the items quickly to be sure all things have been covered before  the doctor leaves the room.
5 – At home I refer to the document to assure I am following doctor’s instructions and looking up anything suggested by the doctor.
6 – Soon after the visit, I use the last appointment organizer to create my next one by copying over things that haven’t changed.
7 – I take notes on my new file between appointments so that I don’t forget issues.
8 – A day or so prior to the next appointment I review the organizer to assure my medications are still correct and make a final check for accuracy.
9 – Two copies are printed (one for me, one for the doctor) and I gather any other necessary documents the night prior to the appointment and put them by the door where I can see it.

Appointment Organizer

Melissa L. Cook
Date of Birth

Date: date of appt
Doctor: Doctor Name, Clinic Name, City, State

1. List change(s) in my condition(s) since last appt.
2. I also list other doctor appointments I have had since I was last seen by my general physician and the results of the visit.

1. Current issue(s) I am seeking treatment or advice for at this appointment.

MS Symptoms – Current
1. List of symptoms

Current Medications
List of medications, vitamins and supplements

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About the Author

Melissa Cook
Melissa Cook is the author of As a retired high school teacher and school district administrator, she chooses to share her MS story in hopes of benefiting others.