Ridiculously nervous about next cons appt this week UPDATE seen cons :(

I have my next cons appt on Thursday (horrible moment when I got back today, saw 'appt style' letter and thought they might be postponing it but was just one postponing my heart appt till Feb - what is the point in that?)

Basically I am incredibly nervous about it, in the way you would be before a really important job interview. Not concerned about the medical stuff, probably there won't even be any. Having been to 2nd cons appts before I'm expecting a 10 minute chat, but I've waited 4 months for this, everyone else I've asked has said they can't really help and to see what cons says, and so basically I feel like everything is riding on me putting my case to the cons in the time I have and getting across that it's got worse and I really need her to do something about it. I know there are people with brittle asthma etc worse off on here and elsewhere but I don't think I can face months more of waiting and feeling rubbish without any medication or anyone knowing how to help.

Sorry, turning into a bit of a rant but was wondering if anyone has any advice on 'effective communication' in appts? I ought to know this stuff, I can do it fine in other contexts (except job interviews lol) but in cons appts I tend to babble like an idiot and come out feeling like it wasn't much use.

I know about making a list, need to remember to look at it! Was thinking of doing basic headings this time and just using it as a reminder. Usually have a good memory but that also goes in appts.

Any other tips? Sorry for the ramble, I am just so worried about getting this right as I feel like it's my last chance (I know not really true but no-one seems to have a clue!) So worried she's just going to say, 'well, sorry, but we still have no idea, can't do anything for you'.

14 Replies

  • Hi Philomela,

    I had exactly the same problem last time I saw one. Am not great with the medical profession and turn into an idiot usually, but when I'm in this situation its all a lot worse. I went overboard, I thought. Wrote everything down that he might ask, in a logical order: history, current issues, meds and questions.

    I didn't read it to him, I gave it to him (I was in jelly idiot mode when I walked in). All two A4 sides of it! He was ok, sat and read it. Of course a lot wasn't needed but it gave him what he wanted. He really wasn't the right person to help me but it was the easiest appt I'd had in a long time. I'll do the same if I end up in front of another.

    I hope it goes well, however you decide to approach it. Remember its also up to them to get what they need from you, although I know some of us can present them with seemingly impossible challenges :(

    Good Luck!


  • Thanks Tina! Good to know I'm not the only one who turns into a quivering idiot as soon as they step into a consulting room (only during clinic appts, I never have any trouble telling people about symptoms etc during tests, probably because I'm not nervous then). I think I'd better not go the A4 route or I'll never stop, but I may try doing ordered headings to get everything in.

    Of course the wild card is also that I have no idea what she's going to ask or if she has any ideas at all. I know they're meant to cover all the bases but I find they don't always ask about stuff I think they need to know, or if they do I'll manage to leave out a key detail I'd remembered in the waiting room. It's all very uncertain and as a control freak I really dislike that lol

  • Philomena & TS, I could've have written the same.

    I'm waiting for first asthma/respiratory appt, have had several NHS letters from a generic local PO box address. The first was cancelling and rebooked 3 wks later with a week's notice (apparently consultant was showing new doctors around!). Saturday, I'd another for respiratory technician appt the same day as the original & now 3 wks later i.e. same day (at least not time) as the consultant one, this being after the first date. I'd never heard about it in the first place?! Also, had rather odd conversation with ENT about operation next week, then had message saying it was rescheduled with letter on the way but was moved back? Am now thinking postponing will happen again or I'll turn up next week for ENT & they'll cancel.

    Appts do feel like an interview. ENT ok as fairly clear case. Keep getting GP and asthma nurse saying wait til asthma appt. I always seem to forget something even with a list I don't don't look at either. I like the 'effective appt communication' idea. I'm thinking a short A5/A4 summary page with copy of referral letter, GP test results, repeat prescription as medication list and peak flow diary/chart to hand if needed. I've started a small medical file now to keep all letters etc together which can fit in any bag.

  • Philomela - If you take 2 A4 pages and fold them in half you get a small booklet. That fits a lot in, although you might need an extra page or two. Hey - at least you'll be in there for more than 10 mins.

    I agree on headings, mine weren't highlighted and finding the right bit took a bit of effort from the cons. Your right, they need to be obvious.

    I worried about giving him too much info but he was fine about it. Even offered to copy it so I could keep the original. I was in idiot mode so didn't accept his offer. I suspect I should've done.

    TJ - I hope it all goes ahead soon. Its bad enough preparing for appts, I can't imagine how I'd deal with delays and cancellations!

  • TJ, crossed fingers you get that sorted out! Your experience was why I was worried about seeing that letter today and was so glad it wasn't my resp one, though tbh I can't now see the point of attending the next cardio one if it's going to be in Feb. I also had the notification of the date of my treadmill test changed when I'd not heard about it to start with, something weird there.

    Tina, I might now try producing something for the cons to actually read, hadn't even considered that, was just thinking of it for me as a reminder - like you TJ I tend to forget to look at it! Only problem is if it's going to be any length it needs to be typed because otherwise she will not be able to read my handwriting (I must be one of the few people whose handwriting is actually worse than their consultant's!), and I have no working printer. But will work something out.

  • Hi philomela,

    I think a typed one would be good, hadn't thought of that when we were PMing each other last week. At my first appt, I took in 3 A4 typed info of my history and current situation and they read it and asked to put it in my file so they can refer to it before each of my appts to recap who I am which I think has helped. I have a copy on my pc too. Also, if you start it now you can condense it/add to it as the week goes on. This also gives you breathing space (haha unintended pun) in the appt to relax and clear your thoughts whilst they are reading it. I hadn't thought of it for later appts!! I'm still umming and ahhing how to write my info for this Thursday's too. lol

    BTW so glad you managed the choir time!! xxx

  • Just wanted to add, i work at the hospital and sometimes our patients come in with typed information like you've suggested. Our consultant said he found it a very useful snapshot and is handy to put in the notes, but just make sure when you're putting down you current medication, that you put what its for. This might sound very obvious but an asthma consultant might not know all types of medication from a gastroenterology medical condition for instance. Also many drugs have multiple uses e.g antidepressants are used for lots of different complaints, not just depression.

  • Thanks Philomena, I am defo. ringing ENT before I go Thurs to check all ok.

    September2006, that is true. I have to say anything written down about prescriptions is better than 'oh the little red/white ... ones' we still often get despite the trust saying bring in your repeat prescription ... all over information and on all letters.

  • Crossed fingers TJ your ENT goes ahead as planned!

    I've done my 'document' or at least mostly, may add a couple of things if I remember anything else before I go. Medication is fairly easy though I tend to forget one thing as it's for a condition I've had my entire life which is very well-controlled. Not on anything at all now for lungs so that makes it easy.

    So glad you suggested this, thanks! It will make it easier I think.

  • Thanks Philomena. Have to say I like Tina's idea at the beginning where she said history, current issues etc. Have to think about doing that, had a blank when had spirometry recently at GPs and the nurse asked me about stuff.

  • Good luck Philomela!

  • Thanks! I do feel less nervous now I have 'the document' as I feel I've covered a lot more and hopefully will make use of the time. Other things have of course overshadowed it as well but I still want to make sure I get the most out of this.

  • Thinking of you today. Hope all goes well. xx

  • aaarrghhh

    Well, that was fun...not.

    I should be pleased, I know so many of you are struggling with real asthma issues, but I just feel frustrated and like a bit of an idiot. Basically she said everything so far has suggested lungs (and heart) are working fine, nothing wrong with them, so it must be that I don't breathe properly. She's sending me to physio which is something, said things have moved on in the last couple of years so it might help even though it didn't do much before.

    So guess I will have to wait for that - no further tests planned as everything so far has been normal. She was sympathetic, said she could see where I was coming from. I just don't know how I managed to get this bad and be shuffling around like an old lady with nothing wrong! Feels like a 'negative' diagnosis ie nothing is wrong so it must be this, rather than knowing for sure.

    Also confused as she said it sounded like cough was coming from my throat. I know it's dry, but it really does feel like it's coming from further down which feels irritated...but she said it can't be as no evidence of inflammation.

    Am I just being unreasonable getting so frustrated by this? I feel like a fraud when so many people do have really nasty things wrong, but I'm struggling to connect the way I feel with what's apparently going on.

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