Talking to your doctor is usually pretty intimidating.
We all learned to be deferential to doctors. That’s just the way we were brought up. But that deference can raise high barriers to getting the advice and medical care you need. This is particularly true to men – who hate to go to the doctors office in the first.
The usual dialogue goes something like this:
Doctor. Hi Joe. How are you doing today?
Joe: Great doc.
Doctor: So how are you feeling?
Joe: Pretty good (even though he isn’t).
The doctor then does his routine exam and Joe is out the door without really asking the questions he wanted answered.
You aren’t Alone in this Situation
A recent study clearly illustrates that this communication problem is widespread: Afraid to Speak Up at the Doctor’s Office? http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/afr …
We’ve all been there; sitting on the exam table in a gown with our bums hanging out the back while our doctor talks to us in his official white coat with his stethoscope looped around his neck. How intimidating is that!
The Solution? Take a Wingman
During part of my military career I was stationed at European Command Headquarters in Germany and traveled frequently to francophone sub-Saharan Africa where I routinely interacted with African military leaders in French.
Although I could speak French, I found that my conversations were much more fruitful when I used the State Department officer that accompanied me to translate the comments from French to English. This gave me time to think about what was being said and the appropriate response rather than on translation process.
Having a second person with you at important meetings with your doctor can ensure you ask the right questions and hear what the doctor is saying.
Having a good wingman is incredibly valuable, and in most cases your wife or significant other is the best wingman you can have.