What Your Doctor Visit Should Be Like: Adjust Your Expectations

blood pressureI always brush my teeth two to three times before I go to the doctor.

I don't want to be caught breathing garlic on him when he makes me open up and say "aaaah."

Never mind that if I really thought about it, a doctor hasn't made me do that since I was still in stirrup pants and banana clips.

It just seems like it's part of the process.


And I'm not crazy.

Dr. Danielle Ofri says her patients seem to expect her to pull out her stethoscope at every appointment. She related in the New York Times that she ends up listening to a set of lungs that she's "99.9 percent sure is perfectly normal," more often than not.

Apparently we're all caught up in the routine of the doctor visit.

We expect the following:

  • Blood pressure.
  • Temperature.
  • Throat check.
  • Lung check.
  • Heart check.
  • Pulse.

When is the last time you got more than three of those?

Better question: when was the last time more than three of those were actually necessary?

I'm all about getting everything out of my 15 minutes in the room with the doctor actually looking me in the eye, but if he's so busy checking out my tonsils that he forgets to look at the hangnail I came in with, who's losing out here?

So what do I really want my doctor doing?

  • Asking for my medicine list -- so he doesn't prescribe me anything that will interact with my current meds.
  • Looking me in the eye -- not at his stupid computer screen.
  • Asking me probing questions. Don't take what I say at face value, doc. I don't always know what you need me to say.

What do you expect at your doctor's visit?


Image via House of Sims/Flickr


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