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Handbook for Mortals : Talking With Your Doctor

Dress for success

Although you may be a patient, you can preserve your identity, dignity, and control in your interactions with doctors and other medical personnel. Most of us would refuse to undress to talk to a complete stranger. Yet many people will mutely follow directions and put on a skimpy gown to talk to a doctor. This not only strips away your sense of identity, it distracts you from discussing important matters because you are threatened by the possibility of inopportune exposure!

If you are making a routine visit to a doctor you have seen regularly, you may feel perfectly comfortable putting on a gown and waiting to be examined. But keep your clothes on to maintain some dignity and control during your first visit with a doctor or during a visit when you want to discuss something particularly important.

If you are told to "put this gown on and the doctor will be in soon, " say: "I prefer to talk to the doctor before being examined. " If you are pressed to change clothes, say directly: "I'll change after I talk to the doctor. " If you do not want to argue with someone who is probably following office procedure, then just don't change clothes! If the doctor or staff asks why you are still dressed, repeat, "I prefer to talk with the doctor before being examined. "

When you do undress, leave on your watch or jewelry. This provides a statement of your personal style. And such items rarely interfere with an exam.

To learn more about the book "Handbook for Mortals" click here.