“How Are You?”

Artwork: Robin Mead

When your doctor asks the question “How Are You?” what do you say? Here are some tips for talking to your doc:

🌷 Be Honest 

Always tell the truth about your symptoms and condition. It is important not to exaggerate your symptoms and equally important not to downplay your symptoms.

🌷 Be Brave 

Some people downplay their symptoms because they feel shy or embarrassed. It is extremely important that you tell the doctor all your symptoms and limitations. Please try to be brave and do this even if it is hard.

🌷 Be Realistic

It’s great to practice positive thinking. It’s a great to visualize yourself healthy again, and to believe that that is happening. But don’t do that visualization in the doctor’s office. Before you tell your doctor that you are better, make sure you really are better.

🌷 Be Guilt-Free

Some people feel guilty always showing up with bad news at their doctor’s office. They want to be nice to their doctor and tell their doctor how much the treatments are helping. Please tell your doctor the truth. Don’t say something that is not true just to be polite.

🌷 Be Repetitive

Try to discuss your limitations and severe symptoms every time you see your doctor. Don’t worry if you have said it already a million times. Say it a million and one.

🌷 Be Out of the Box

Some people were raised to believe that it is better never to complain. It is better to “grin and bear it” and remember other people have it worse. If you are applying for disability, please try your best to talk openly about your struggles. You may need to step way outside of your comfort zone, and be very strong and courageous to make this change

🌷 Be Mild, Moderate or Severe

Social Security will review your records to determine if your condition is severe. When you describe your symptoms, it is a good idea to note which symptoms are severe and which are mild. For example: “I have severe fatigue” “I have moderate muscle weakness” “I have mild headaches.”

🌷 Be Sure to Include Functioning

Functioning is the most important part! Don’t leave this out. Many disability lawyers recommend that you talk with your doctor about any limitations or difficulties you have with sitting, standing, walking, lifting, grasping, bending, thinking, focusing, concentrating or remembering.

🌷 Be Brief

Even though this list looks really long, you can do every single thing on this list in sixty seconds or less. Here is a story from Linda about how she explains her condition to her doctor:  “I am continuing to have severe, disabling symptoms from Fibromyalgia and Lyme Disease. I have severe fatigue, dizziness, and widespread pain. I cannot stand more than ten minutes or sit up more than twenty minutes most of the time. I am not able to shop or cook without assistance.”

See…. Sixty Seconds! Done!

Learn More

🌷 Five Important Rules Social Security Has About Doctors

🌷 Great Tips from Readers on How to Have Good Doctor Visits

🌷 How to Have Great Doctor Visits

🌷 How Heather Creates a Paper Trail


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