Ever leave your rheumatologist’s or doctor’s office and think, “Ah, I wish I would have asked…”? Don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens to many people at some point. There’s only so much you can remember in the time you have at each visit.
You can give your memory an edge before your next appointment with the tips and downloadable PDF worksheet below. Developed in partnership with contributor and editorial board member Ara Dikranian, M.D., and people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the worksheet may be able to help you express to your doctor how you’re feeling.
Think of your time with your doctor as a conversation: two people on equal ground, working together to help you live with RA.
Although both you and your doctor would like more time together, it’s not always possible. Maximize your time by preparing what you want to say in advance and asking your most important questions first.
Rely on your instincts.
Yes, your doctor is the healthcare professional—but you know yourself best. You know when you’re achieving your goals or not. Trust your instincts and be honest with your doctor about how you’re really feeling.
Be specific and honest.
When your doctor asks, “How are you doing?” try to use more descriptive words than “fine,” “good,” or “OK.” Do you really feel that way, or are you just trying not to be a difficult patient?
Set measurable goals during each conversation with your doctor. Discuss progress. In other words, don’t be afraid to voice your opinions.