Trinity Medical Care

Making a List and Checking it Twice . . .

Yes . . . I know the holiday season has ended, but it’s not a bad idea to make a list or two for your doctor when you go for an office visit.

THE MEDICATION LIST

A medication list is an essential bring-along for each and every visit. This list should include any medications you are currently taking, including the dosage, the frequency of administration and the number of refills remaining.

Remember the days when MotrinTM was a prescription medication? How about DimetappTM? TavistTM? AleveTM? and a host of others? Just because they are over-the-counter products now, does not mean they are not medications and don’t have side effects that could be very relevant to your office visit and your overall health. Contrary to popular belief, it is essential to make note of these and other over-the-counter products you take, including vitamins, minerals and other supplements, even if they are not taken every day. For example, did you know even taking over-the-counter pain relievers called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) on an intermittent basis can cause a stomach ulcer? This is especially true if they are taken on an empty stomach. They can also cause salt and water retention and thereby raise your blood pressure.

Also, don’t forget to list your allergies, and, if you can remember, the reaction that occurred. For some people, it is easier to put everything into a paper bag and bring it to the office visit. Medication names are like a foreign language and to make matters worse, not only are the brand names difficult to remember, their generic equivalents are often ten times worse!

YOUR LIST OF SYMPTOMS AND QUESTIONS

While we will try to make your visit as pleasant as possible, we realize that going to see a doctor, especially for the first time, can be very anxiety-provoking. This means that while you may have had a very clear idea of what you wanted to say when you stepped into the office, many of your thoughts may have escaped you in the exam room. This happens even to me when I go to see my own family doctor. Therefore, because most of the time a correct diagnosis can be obtained purely based on the history (what you tell the doctor), having a list can be a great assistance. Please don’t be embarrassed to mention any of your concerns: nothing is too silly, too simple or too unimportant to be mentioned. Your doctor’s office is the place for total openness and honesty.

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