I’ve left it up to my mom to really pay attention during my neurologist visits up until a couple of years ago. For over a decade I took no responsibility for my epilepsy in this way. And likely as a result of this behavior, there isn’t much I remember about those visits either. I have much stronger memories of resisting medication changes. I remember my irresponsible behavior surrounding taking medication (taking it incorrectly or not at all) and the consequences of that. And I remember general feelings about the doctors I have had. But the visits themselves? Very little.
So I talked to my mom about some of the things she has learned over the years about these visits and how best to both prepare for and handle them.
- Note how you are
Write down how you are and how you’ve been before you go. Perhaps it is just me or my family, but if a lot has happened since the last appointment, there will be something I forget to tell my doctor when he asks, “How are you?” So these days I try (and for years my mom has done the same) to make a note of everything new before going in.
- List any questions
Also make a note of any questions you may have and bring them with you. This is especially useful if a lot has changed recently or if you have questions about your current or future treatment plans.
- Take notes
I have so many memories of getting home from appointments, being asked what my doctor said, and shrugging. At times there is a lot to take in, such as when I ask a lot of questions. So my mom takes a notepad to ensure she has any information she may want for later.
- Honesty, honesty, honesty
I am a broken record at this point, but this was emphasized by my mom as well. I have lied and told my mom to lie about my seizure frequency in the past, mostly for fear of medication changes. But when you aren’t honest about your current health status, there is no way your treatment can work for you.