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Maximizing your neurologist's time

                   Does it seem your neurologists window of time is too short?
                                              Photo: Pamela Yelinek

It seems everyone’s time is limited these days, and that couldn’t be truer for Multiple Sclerosis patients and their neurologists. It’s not easy to answer the doctor’s questions, go through a neurological exam and, explain all your symptoms in the 15 to 20 minutes carved out for you. Let alone articulate your own questions too.

So how can you maximize your audience with Dr. Neurologist?

According to Edward J. Fox, MD, PhD, at a patient education event in here in Houston, there are three very important things you can do to make the most of your window of time in the neurologist’s office:

1. Prepare a list of every medication you are using and when you take it. Be sure to include all the over-the-counter drugs and CAM’s (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) you use as well. This will help eliminate/shorten the time taken to review any medication changes since your last visit.

2. Prepare a list of all the symptoms you’re enduring. List them in priority order, with the most bothersome one(s) at the top of the list and the least bothersome at the bottom.

3. Prepare a list of all your questions. Again, list them in order of priority with the most important thing you want to discuss at the top of the page.

Take all three lists (and a copy for yourself) to the neurologist’s office on your next appointment and give them to the person who checks you in. Let them know that those are the things you want the doctor to discuss with you during that visit.

Dr. Fox explained that he isn’t a big fan of MS diaries because he doesn’t like the idea of folks being forced to constantly think about their disease manifestations. He suggests that the three lists are an easy and efficient way to relay what is happening, in turn, allowing the neurologist to initiate the wisest questions. With that little bit of effort you’ll afford your doctor the opportunity to better understand what’s happening with you and your disease. You’ll be revealing the big picture and allow them to quickly target the most urgent things first.  It's a smart way to advocate for yourself.

You have no time to lose, why not give it a try at your next appointment?




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