I have been a patient for 18 years and all those years in the medical system have given me confidence and knowledge to advocate for myself. When I walk into a doctor’s office I want to convey that I am comfortable in that context and that I intend to be a fully participating partner in my healthcare.

So when I wake up and get dressed on the morning of an appointment I keep this in mind. I don’t want to look so slovenly that I’ll be dismissed as unengaged but I don’t want to look so polished that i appear to not need the medical help. Casual but intentional. Pulled together but not stuffy. Sick but still in charge.

I feel like I nailed it this time.

I also came fully prepared with a list of the vitamins I take. I can rattle off my prescription medications and dosages no problem but when the nurse starts asking about supplements my memory gets hazy. All the bottles look the same, most of the pills look the same, and I’m often switching things up.

This time I had a foolproof plan. I brought photos.

Only after my appointment was done did I realize I forgot to list one of my most significant prescription meds.

But I came away from the appointments with a plan to increase my infusion dosages, reassurance that my liver can definitely handle the meds I’m taking, and a requisition for blood work to make sure no nasty side effects, like lymphoma, are creeping up.

So I consider it a win. A little prep goes a long way towards getting good results.

(This post is brought to you by an hour long wait at the hospital lab.)

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