Lyme Disease has the very unfortunate side effect of “brain fog”—a growing state of confusion, not thinking clearly, difficulty remembering things, etc. Brain fog makes getting the most out of your doctor’s appointments tricky.
This is one area of my life where my “Type A” personality has been a real help. If that’s not you, may I humbly suggest that now is the time to learn to be “Type A-ish” with your doctor’s appointments? You may develop your own system that works wonder for you, and if it’s different than mine – fabulous! But, here is what I do, and it seems to work really well:
- I keep a medical journal between doctor appointments (I like typing mine on the computer so that I can make a copy for me and one to give to my doctor). I record weekly my overall symptoms and rate them based upon frequency and severity. By keeping this kind of log, I’m better able to see patterns and less likely to forget the major things that I need to mention to my doctor. (PS Due to brain fog, I highly suggest having a pre-set time on your calendar to do this, so you don’t forget!)
- I keep an ongoing list of all my medication (again on the computer—copying and pasting is my friend). I also make sure to carry a copy of this in my purse or on my phone with me at all times. Sadly, you never know when you’ll have unexpected trip to the ER and be asked to recall the 25 different medications you’re on.
- The week before a doctor’s appointment, I start talking with my husband about medical questions or patterns I’m thinking through, and ask him to be thinking as well. Even if he doesn’t have any thoughts, I think it’s helpful for both of us, as it reminds us that we’re a team in making these decisions.
- The day before a doctor’s appointment, I print my weekly medical journals, as well as my medication list (x2 – your doctor might ask to keep a copy!). I then proceed to make a short “review” (see picture below), that helps me collect all my thoughts. I write down the things that I feel like are doing overall better, the things that are overall doing worse, and then I have a section for questions that I intend on asking. When, I’m all done, I show my husband and say, “This is what I’m planning on talking about with Dr. ____ tomorrow. What do you think? Are there any questions you have that I missed?” And then I adjust if he has any thoughts. And… print
- The day of the appointment, I always ask someone to go with me. Having a friend or loved one along can be really helpful, especially if they’re willing to drive. It allows you to talk on the one way to the appointment and review the things that are really important to you without having to pay attention to the road. I use this time to tell my friend or loved one my goals for the meeting, and ask them to help me make sure I complete them. Again—brain fog is awful. You might get confused in your appointment or even with your detailed notes forget to say something. This is when your loved one gets to chime in because you’ve already given them the “green light” to help make the appointment better. Additionally, you can ask them to take notes, so that you can spend more time talking directly to your doctor without having to also think about scribbling quickly. Use the assets you have! And can I just say – why do something alone when you can do it together?
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to prepare. If you find a prep technique that really works for you, I’d love to invite you to share it in the comments section. We’ll all help each other get better at this.
Blessings and health to you!