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How to Remember Everything the Doc Says

Trips to the doctor become more and more frequent as we age. The body is a delicate machine that needs diligent upkeep to run properly, and going to the doctor is like taking that machine to the mechanic. In addition to prescriptions, though, the doctor has some important maintenance information for you every meeting. How can you remember all that information? We've got some tips.

Am I the only one who forgets what the doctor said?

woman at male Doctor's appointment
First and foremost, here are a few facts about our memory and why it operates the way it does.
  • Research shows you're more likely to remember directive sentences, e.g. "Do a blood test tomorrow 07:00 AM," and are less likely to remember explanative sentences, such as, "Here is how your kidney stones have formed."
  • The more the doctor talks, the less you'll remember.
  • A week after the meeting, you're likely to remember less than half of what the doctor said. This is because a doctor's appointment can be a stressful thing, especially if you're introduced to a traumatic diagnosis.

Related: 7 Tips For Retaining All the Knowledge You Learn

What can be done to remember more?

man at female Doctor's appointment
Here are some practical tips on how to remember valuable information shared by your doctor. We assume that bringing a pen and a piece of paper goes without saying.
  • Don't let the doctor cut you off.
  • When you participate, you remember better. Repeat what you hear.
  • Write down in advance the three main things you'd like to talk about in the meeting.
  • Make sure you receive all the answers during the meeting. Avoid something called "doorknob questions." These are short questions you ask when you already have your hand on the doorknob and you're on the way out of the doctor's office. When the meeting is over, you should have all your answers.
  • You can ask to see your medical records and the doctor's notes. You're legally entitled to them.

H/T: NYTimes

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