Cosmopolitan magazine recently published “Eleven Tips for Mind-Blowing, Incredible Doctor Visits!” in a slight departure from its usual category of advice. With permission from the magazine, we have reproduced the tips here so you can have thrilling and productive visits to your favorite physician(s).
Get hot and steamy… before you go.
Shower or bathe the morning or night before your visit. Body odor assessment is not a part of the physical exam that any doctor wants to perform.
Take the pill… bottles to your visits.
Bring your pill bottles or a current list of medications to your visits. Keep your bottles in a plastic zip-lock bag or bring a neatly written or printed list so your doctor can keep your medication information up-to-date.
Don’t list every adverse reaction to medication you have ever had or foods you don’t like as “allergies.”
Be honest… about your dating/social history.
Provide important social information such as relationship status and history of unprotected sex, if asked. But we don’t need TMI—just enough to know if HIV, HCV, or other STDs need to be checked. It might just be relevant to your medical care.
Dress for success: wear something sultry… some other time.
Nothing screams “borderline personality disorder and drug seeker” better than a halter top and a mini skirt at the doctor’s office. Dress comfortably in something that is compatible with a physical exam but is not excessively revealing.
Be receptive to a third party… to chaperone.
Third-party same-gender chaperones are indicated for sensitive exams where the physician and patient have different genders. The last thing your doctor needs is a “he said, she said” situation.
Show and tell… somewhere else.
Don’t bring stool, urine, or wound discharge samples from home unless we ask you to in advance. We prefer to collect our own in sterile containers.
Stroke his or her ego… just a bit.
Don’t break dates.
Avoid missed appointments. Missing appointments wastes the time of the staff and the physician, and adjusting schedules is not always easy. If you miss too many appointments, your doctor might just quite seeing you.
Choose the right position… It says a lot about you.
Don’t get caught horizontal (sleeping) in the waiting room. In the consultation or exam room, sit upright and attentive. At least pretend that you are interested, even if you are just trying to score your monthly Percocet refill. It will go a long way in your doctor-patient relationship.
Never fake it.
If there’s one thing that’s universally reviled by the medical profession, it’s malingering. Enough said.