I started attending all medical appointments with my parents as they became older. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, the appointments were frequent and often anxiety producing. Complicated medical terms and difficult to pronounce medication names filled the air as we discussed what was to happen next. With my background as a physician assistant, I could interpret what was being said and put the information in more understandable terms. I also had the benefit of knowing how the healthcare system worked. This gave me the ability to navigate around the many roadblocks ahead.
Taking someone with you to medical appointments can be very important when you are diagnosed with a new condition or overwhelmed dealing with a chronic condition. The anxiety you may feel during appointments often clouds your ability to understand simple information. A friend or family member may be able to calm your feelings of anxiety, give you the confidence to ask questions, and help you understand the information and instructions you are given by your provider.
We have all heard the saying “two heads are better than one.” Those extra sets of eyes and ears help you have a better health outcome. So, the next time you go to the doctors bring along a friend or family member. If your health condition is more challenging, consider having a health advocate become part of your team to give you peace of mind.