Because of the vast waiting times between appointments, it is imperative that you get the most out of the time you spend with your neurologist. So, this is where you, the person with Parkinson’s has a role to play. Ten weeks ago, I started on new medication and since that time, I have been watching myself and taking notes of any changes in my symptoms. Based on these notes, I was able to prepare a series of questions / concerns which I put to the neurologist and PD nurse who sat in for most of my appointment. Between them, they answered my queries and I came away feeling good that I had got the information I was looking for. So it got me thinking about my previous appointment which wasn’t as productive for a number of reasons, one of which was I hadn’t prepared myself for the appointment. I went in expecting the neurologist to have all the answers, but the reality is, a neurologist is just that – a neurologist. They are not life coaches, nutritionists or therapists.
So in order to get the most out of your next neurology appointment, I’ve come up with the following tips.
1. Write your questions down before you visit your neurologist. That way, you won’t forget anything you want to ask.
2. Take someone with you for support, be it a family member or carer. They may also have questions which you hadn’t thought of.
3. Be honest. If you’re experiencing embarrassing problems, don’t be afraid to tell your neurologist. The chances are, they have probably already dealt with your “embarrassing issue” with another patient. There is no room for pride or vanity in a neurology clinic.
4. If you can, write down the answers they give to your questions, so you won’t forget them.
5. Manage your expectations – look for answers and information relative to their expertise as Parkinson’s is a complex disease that affects different aspects of a person’s life, not all of which can be treated effectively with medication.
6. Finally, thank them for their help.
For more information on how you can monitor your condition and make the most out of your next consultation, please take a look at The Parkinson’s Well-Being Map http://www.cureparkinsons.org.uk/files/assets/158.pdf
So I hope you will consider the above points for your next neurologist’s appointment, and that way you can come away feeling informed and empowered to look after yourself until you next walk through the clinic doors.