It takes years of study and practice for someone to become a doctor, and we're often blown away by the work they do — the surgery, the research, and the long, long hours. But we often forget that a big part of a medical professional's job is actually patient interaction; they see countless individuals a day, all with different personalities and from varying parts of the world, and they all have to deal with all their, um, quirks. With WebMD, Google, and more than enough online forums now at our fingertips, it's not uncommon for patients to walk into the exam room with a head full of potential diagnoses.
Before you run in with a whole list of symptoms and articles you read on the Internet, remember that doctors have a lot more experience than you do when it comes to health and wellbeing. Dr. David Agus, professor of medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, tells the Huffington Post that patients generally do this because they are looking for a quick fix, and they think coming in with a pile of information will help them get there. You would benefit a lot more from actually listening to what your doctor has to say — and if you feel like you need a second opinion, go find one.
Whether you're suffering from insomnia or looking for a new birth control to call your own, approach your upcoming doctor's visit with patience and intelligence. And, at all costs, avoid saying any of the following 13 phrases, as they will surely send your doc straight to the bar. (Or wherever it is doctors go when they're not working.)
1. "I'm Taking That Little White Pill .... You Know ..."
Family doctor Jennifer Caudle writes for the Daily Beast and says most of her patients have no idea what kind of medication they are taking — only the color and size of the pill. This is especially dangerous, she reminds us, because it can lead to taking too much or combining it with the wrong thing. Go into your doctor's appointment knowing exactly what you're taking with that glass of water every morning; this will also make their job that much easier.
2. "Can You Fill Out This Paperwork Right Now?"
People ask this question when they're behind on submitting medical paperwork to their office or insurance company. Dr. Caudle urges her patients to remember that paperwork takes time, and things could get messed up if doctors aren't offered the time and space to correctly fill them out. They take it very seriously, so fax in whatever you need filled out before you enter the hospital with a list of demands and red tape.
3. "But Dr. Oz Said..."
Ah, Dr. Oz. Some love him and others think he's a quack. Whatever he truly is, don't take everything he says as gospel — and definitely don't use his advice to tell your doctor how to do their job. You may find some of the things Dr. Oz says to be really useful to your everyday life, and that's OK. But instead of pushing them on your medical professional, approach the subject with curiosity and openness.
4. "I Know I Need Antibiotics"
By saying this, you're basically saying you've diagnosed yourself already, and that's something medical professionals aren't exactly fond of. Don't be so quick to request a strong round of antibiotics — there may be other ways to help you feel better, depending on what's going on in your body. The best kind of doctors are the ones who won't automatically prescribe you medications; besides, when overused, antibiotics can lose their power.
5. "I Hear Vaccinations Are Really Bad For You"
They must sick to death of hearing this one. If you have serious concerns about the side effects of certain vaccinations, poke around on the Internet, but also bring it up with your doctor. They are fountains of information, and they're perfectly able to hash out your worries with you, no matter how small or big they may be. But try to refrain from going in with a strong opinion already formed, because the two of you won't be able to reach a conclusion together.
6. "Could You Take A Look At My Friend Too?"
The appointment is for you and you alone, and doctors have carved this space out specifically for you. Don't try to take advantage of their time and beg them to take a look at a mole on your friend's back. Associate editor of Physicians Practice Marisa Torrieri says this happens more often than you would think, and it's totally out of the realm of doctor-patient etiquette.
7. "No, I Googled It"
I get how this could drive your doctor mad, mad, mad. Doctors don't mind if you do a little bit of research on your own, but don't come in with guns blazing, trying to teach them something about their profession. Still be open to discussions and decision-making, regardless of what you've read about the lower abdominal pain you've been having.
8. "Could You Write Me A Sick Note For Work?"
You're no longer in middle school, so don't act like it. Most of the time, when patients ask for a note, they aren't being completely honest with their about their condition. It isn't fair to put your doctor in the position where they have to lie for you. Be honest about how you're feeling — both in the exam room and at work — and it will go a long way.
9. "I Quit Taking That Medication A While Ago"
Fifty percent of patients don't take prescribed meds as advised; consult your doctor before making big decisions like quitting your medication cycle. You might think you know everything you need to know about what you're putting into your body, but there could be factors you don't quite understand yet. If you are having trouble with the side effects of a medication, talk to them about it before you choose to toss it down the toilet.
10. "I'm Pretty Sure I Need Xanax"
If you're looking for medication to ease your anxiety, this is not the way to go about it, I promise. Besides, doctors don't appreciate being used as a signature. Dr. Thomas Schwenk, chairman of family medicine at the University of Michigan, tells ABC News that this can be very frustrating for medical professionals. They exist to offer help and improve your life — not only to stamp their name on a prescription so you can feel better about yourself. Be willing to try the alternatives before running after pills to reduce stress.
11. "My Chest Has Been Hurting, But It's Not A Big Deal"
Never, ever withhold this kind of information from your doctor — and definitely don't wait to tell it to them as they're halfway out the door, as it could point to a number of significant things, from heart disease to low blood pressure. There are people, mostly hypochondriacs, out there who exaggerate their ailments, but chest pain is one that should never be ignored.
12. "Everything Hurts"
Do your doc a favor and be more specific so they can treat you accordingly. They won't have anything to work with if you just say you're in pain everywhere. It makes their job much harder when you can't pinpoint what it is that is ailing you. Take some time to yourself before the appointment so you can enter with a clear head.