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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Larrry Berkelhammer, PhD., is the author of "In Your Own Hands," a book that talks about mind training to improve health in instances of chronic illness.

Larrry Berkelhammer, PhD., is the author of “In Your Own Hands,” a book that talks about mind training to improve health in instances of chronic illness.

The purpose of this blog and the entire website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live a vibrant, meaningful life while living with chronic health challenges or other life challenges.

Every Tuesday I post a new, very brief video from my presentations or interviews. Every Friday this Q&A column appears.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: You recommend recording medical appointments but my doctor said she’s not comfortable with that. What do you recommend?

ANSWER:

I have long advocated that when going for medical appointments involving discussion of diagnosis and treatment choices, you ask permission to record the session. Many patients record sessions without asking permission. That’s a bad idea because you want to have a good working relationship—in fact partnership—with your doctors. Mutual trust is important.

Recording the consultation provides you with far more information than you are likely to remember, allowing you to then transcribe or take notes from the recording when you get home.

Although I have never been refused this request, many patients have told me that their doctors told them they were uncomfortable getting recorded. If you choose to continue working with a doctor who requests that you not record the session, I would recommend taking notes. I was never all that fast with my thumbs or with pen and paper, but I have found that the larger new mobile devices—the size of the iPad Mini—allow me to type almost as fast as I can on a standard keyboard. This is an excellent way of taking copious notes. In fact, it obviates the need to transcribe when you get home. As large as they are, they do fit in pants pockets. On occasion, I bring my laptop into appointments, which is a little 11′ Macbook Air.

If any doctor doesn’t want you recording, another option, in fact one that is better than typing notes, is simply to open a new Note and dictate into it using the voice recognition. Doctors who don’t want to be recorded will not object to that.

Research shows that patients who record or take really good notes are much more likely to follow doctor recommendations and are even more likely to practice good self-care. Be one of these empowered patients and maintain detailed notes.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges or issues related to wellbeing. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about living a life of mindfulness-based mastery or about the relationship between the mind and health or wellbeing? Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. An answer to your specific question may not appear in this column. The reason for that is I wait until I get a certain number of related questions, then I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. People attending myaudio presentations asked most of the questions appearing in this column, and I repeat them here so you may benefit.

 

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