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Making the Most of Your Next Doctor Visit

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Marti Bailey

This telephone discussion features Marti Bailey, the Director of the Sibley Senior Association and Community Health, who has helpful tips on how to get the most out of your doctor’s appointment.

  • BrightFocus Foundation
    “Making the Most of Your Next Doctor Visit”
    Transcript of Teleconference
    October 29, 2014
    1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT

    Please note: BrightFocus Chats may be edited for clarity and brevity.

    GUY EAKIN: Hello, everyone, and welcome to our monthly BrightFocus Chat, presented by the BrightFocus Foundation. My name is Guy Eakin; I’m the Vice President for Scientific Affairs for the BrightFocus Foundation, and today we’re going to talk about making the most of your next visit to the doctor.

    If you’d like to submit a question at any time during today’s call, please press *3, and that’ll take you out of the call to an operator who can take down your question for you. And if you are for some reason disconnected from the call, I want to give you a number to call back into. That is 877‑229‑8493. You’ll then be asked to punch in the ID code 112435. That’s 112435.

    We’re going to try some real-time programming today. In order to make that possible, in order to tailor our talk to you, the listeners, we want to get a little bit of information from you. We run this as a survey, and we’re asking you to respond to the survey by pressing a number on your telephone—we would ask the question, how long have you had macular degeneration? And you can answer using the keypad on your telephone. Press 1 if you were just recently diagnosed, press 2 if you’ve had macular degeneration or another low-vision disease for many years, and press 3 if you’re on the call today for a friend or a family member. Again, that’s 1 if your diagnosis was very recent, 2 if you’ve had macular degeneration for a number of years, or 3 if you’re on the call for somebody else.

    While those votes are coming in, we want to welcome our guest speaker today, Marti Bailey, who is Director of the Sibley Hospital Senior Association and Community Health. Marti spends much of her day helping people to navigate the health care system, and Marti, thank you for joining us today. I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about what you do at Sibley.

    MARTI BAILEY: Sure. Thanks so much for having me today. Our commitment, Sibley’s commitment to patients, isn’t just when they’re a patient inside the hospital, but it really extends to them in the community. We do support groups, exercise, health lectures, and so on. And, specifically, Sibley has a great commitment to both older adults and people who have low vision.

    GUY EAKIN: Thank you. Thank you. So, we are starting to get in the results, and it sounds like a lot of people have had macular degeneration for many years on this call. And so they’re probably on plans, they’re probably already seeing an ophthalmologist, or a retinal specialist that they are familiar with. But it happens to be the open enrollment time in a number of plans right now, and we want to have a little bit of conversation for those people who are out there considering whether or not they’re getting the right treatment. How do you think about that process of going and finding a new doctor? What do you recommend for getting started on that question?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, there are several different things that I would start with. But the most important thing that I can say is, it’s really important to get curious. Get curious about what physician is in your plan; get curious about what physician treats what illnesses, particularly if you have an ongoing condition. Then you’ll know that you need to see a physician that will provide the treatments that you have been accustomed to getting. And if you’re newly diagnosed, you’re going to want to find the right ophthalmologist for your particular situation. One of the things you want to do is talk to your friends.

    If you’ve had the condition for a long time, you know who in your community probably is the right person to ask. If you’re in a rural community, you may have to use a lot of computer resources in order to find the right physician for you. But you can also, hopefully, use your friends and family to get that information. If you’re inexperienced with your condition, then you’ll also have some opportunities to just share your concerns with a friend or a family member and ask if they know some of the physicians that are on your new plan, if that has changed, or if they can recommend someone if you’re not satisfied or don’t feel that you’ve been getting the results that you would like.

    GUY EAKIN: I think that’s wonderful advice. When we talk about talking to our friends, regardless of the condition we’re talking about, it’s very common that once we’re honest and start talking with friends and family, you start to find out that there are a lot of people with experience in this—with your particular condition. Are there any common community resources, if someone’s having trouble finding a friend or a family member, are there common community resources that one can go to, to identify a doctor that might represent a change for you? Or even, for a first-time diagnosed person, a new doctor?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, it’s interesting that you should ask that question, because right here at BrightFocus there is, on the website, a physician locator service. And also if a person feels uncomfortable using the website, one can call BrightFocus directly and get one-on-one personal attention at physician locating.

    GUY EAKIN: That’s absolutely correct. In terms of other services that might be in a community, are there local places that you might suggest that people go to, to inquire about resources that might be available for an aging community, or other forms of assistance that might be out there, in either big cities or small?

    MARTI BAILEY: Sure. Usually there’s a local agency or Area Agency on Aging, and they usually have some great information. They should be able to help people troubleshoot. And outside of that, many localities, states, and other jurisdictions have got offices on aging. And those would also have good information.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, so, if we get to the point that we’ve actually decided which doctor we’re going to, we’ve made that appointment, we’re getting ready to go and have that appointment, there’s going to be a period of preparation; we can’t just go in cold. So what are your best practices for preparing for the doctor’s appointment and making sure that you’re in your top shape for going in and getting the information you need?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, do you mind, Guy, if I just back up just a little bit?

    GUY EAKIN: Sure!

    MARTI BAILEY: I’d love to talk really quickly about making sure that your physician is covered and finding out if they’re in network or out of network.

    GUY EAKIN: Absolutely.

    MARTI BAILEY: I think it really helps to know up front how you’re going to pay, or what the physician will expect you to pay when you arrive. Many physicians ask you to pay in full at the time of service, and they give you a bill, and then the insurance pays you. Other physicians ask you to give your insurance card, they do the billing, and then bill you for the remainder. I think it’s super-helpful to know up front how that billing is going to take place.

    GUY EAKIN: And that would be something that the office staff could help you with when you call in, or something.

    MARTI BAILEY: Absolutely. And while you’re on the phone with that office staff, I think it’s really good to talk with the office staff and find out the skinny on how many patients that physician has with your particular condition, and just be friends; get to be friends with that gatekeeper, that front desk person. That helps you get prime appointment times, it helps you develop a relationship if you need to see the doctor quickly; that’s important, too. And just in general, setting up an opportunity to meet the receptionist—one often neglects that relationship, but it’s one of the most important relationships in that office.

    GUY EAKIN: Absolutely. And we all know who’s making the—who’s keeping to the clock and who’s making everything tick in the doctor’s offices. It’s often that person behind the desk there. So, is there anything else on that, on getting ready and making the appointment, that you’d like to say?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, the only other thing that I would like to do is ask when you talk to the receptionist, just make sure that the physician is also one that welcomes friends and family being present at the appointment, because you’ll want to potentially take somebody with you, either a care partner or a friend. You’ll want to know that that physician welcomes people to come in with you.

    GUY EAKIN: Absolutely. So that’s part of that preparation. I think I started to ask a question a little earlier about what are the things that I need to get ready, and it sounds like you might tell me I might want to grab a friend.

    MARTI BAILEY: Grabbing a friend would be great.

    GUY EAKIN: So what else is going to help me, you know, what do I need to bring into that ophthalmologist appointment to make sure that I’m there with as much information as I need to help the ophthalmologist help me and to walk away with the information I need?

    MARTI BAILEY: Sure. One of the most important things is to take with you a current list of your medications. And if that’s uncomfortable for you, you are welcome in almost every case to throw them into a paper bag and take everything with you. That would include things like eye drops or any kind of supplements that you might be taking. That would include any over-the-counter item that you’re taking—and also all prescription items. And you’ll also want to have your medical records with you if this is your first time with the physician.

    GUY EAKIN: Yeah, I think, you know, from our experience here at BrightFocus, on the research side, the issue of what supplements you’re taking—if you’re taking melatonin, if you’re taking anything that’s coming out of a bottle, even sometimes if you’re drinking grapefruit juice—these are all things that you want to let the doctor know, because many of these supplements can potentially interfere with the medications that you’re taking.

    You talked to us about the medical records, how much lead time should we give in having medical records sent over? Is there a period of weeks that you would suggest requesting the medical records from another office before having it sending over? How much time does the doctor need to look over those things?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, it depends on how digitized your previous doctor is. If your previous doctor has everything online, that can usually be pretty fast. However, I would submit that it’s probably going to be as individual as the physicians, and it depends on how busy their office is. What the easiest thing to do is to call the receptionist at your previous physician’s office and ask them how much lead time they need if you’re going to be changing physicians because of your new insurance plan.

    GUY EAKIN: Okay. So we talked about, a little bit here, about preparing yourself and making sure you’re walking in with the right equipment, the right medications and the right records. But you’re going to bring this friend along, maybe. And so what do you need to do to prepare that friend for the conversation, or for anything that they might aid you with?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, one of the things that you’ll have to do before you even ask them is to be sure that you’re being completely honest with them about your condition and also that you feel comfortable telling them, talking about your medical condition—and not just your eyes, but all your medical conditions in front of that friend. Because so many of our chronic conditions have impact on the health of our eyes. So we want to be able to be free to speak honestly and openly with the friend or family member regardless of what the situation is with the ophthalmologist. That would mean if you have diabetes, if you have high blood pressure, any of these things that might influence the health of your eyes, just be open to—if you’re going to take somebody with you, you need to know that they will know a fair amount about you, and you need to be prepared for that.

    GUY EAKIN: So, for the friend who might be a little bit more vocal in the meeting and might be jumping in, what are the—what’s the coaching that you give to the friend, in terms of, how does a friend who’s in that office with you best aid you in your conversation with your doctor?

    MARTI BAILEY: That’s a really good point to make. One of the things you want to do with your friend is to ask your friend to be your listener, to be your fellow listener and ask them if they would take notes. If you give them a job up front they’ll be less likely to interfere or to try to be your parent in the middle of the appointment. But if you’ve asked them to please make sure to write down everything that we say, then having given them the job in advance will really help to direct them to what your needs are.

    However, if you freeze up when you get to the physician’s office, there are a couple of ways to deal with that. One is to ask your care partner or friend to help you if you find yourself freezing up. But in the absence of that, the other thing is to make a list or make a note of everything, to help you brainstorm the questions you want to ask. That way, when you actually get to the physician’s office, you will be prepared not only to know what questions you’re going to ask, but if you freeze up, generally, then you’ll be a lot more confident having that list with you.

    GUY EAKIN: I think we’ve all had that experience. My wife and I joke that the part of my brain that houses memories is actually located in her skull. You know, we all rely on somebody else for so much—especially in those stressful situations, like a doctor’s office. So, if you’re—if we’re taking notes, then we’re probably going to have papers, pens, and things like that that we need to bring along to the doctor’s office. But is there any other trick of the trade that you find helpful, or something that maybe sounds like a good idea but is just worth leaving behind?

    MARTI BAILEY: So, one of the things that I find especially helpful is to make sure that I have whatever I need to make my sensory perception as sharp as it can be. If I need a hearing aid, if I normally wear a hearing aid, if I have corrective reading glasses, or corrective vision, or anything that I need, a magnifying glass, a reader, a recorder, any of those things that you think you would find helpful—those could be the things I’d recommend taking with you. The main thing is that your sensory perceptions are as sharp as you can make them.

    GUY EAKIN: So, do you ever—I have the experience that maybe, for myself and my family, there are times of day that are probably better, that I try to make appointments then, you know, because things are a little bit more chaotic for us potentially in the afternoons. Is that common? Is that something that you experience, or is that something that’s, sort of, one must just shoulder it and move on?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, there are a couple of different ways to look at that. I use this example all the time—my middle child, one couldn’t even speak to her before 9:00 a.m. in the morning. It just didn’t work. So, if you’re the kind of person who is not a morning person, your best bet is to not take, not accept a morning appointment unless that is absolutely the last available appointment that you can get for that month. Get a time that is your best time. If you are best at 11:00 a.m., after you’ve dressed and gotten your coffee and feel like your brain is completely alert, then make that 11:00 a.m. If you need something that is later in the day, go with that. But really, suit yourself, find a time that you are the most alert and feeling the freshest.

    GUY EAKIN: Okay. I want to remind people who are on the call with us today that you can leave our call, if you’d like to ask a question. So the way you do that is you press *3 to submit your question, and that’ll take you to an operator, and if for some reason you’re disconnected from the call (which rarely happens, but occasionally it does), we do have a number to call back in, and that number is 877‑229‑8493. That’s 877-229-8493, and you’ll be asked to punch in an ID code, which is 112435. One of the things that comes up time and time again in all of our lives is time management. And in the doctor’s office, Marti, we know that we only have a very precious little amount of time with the doctor. So how do you make the most of that time in terms of your conversation, and managing that time, and making sure that things are staying where you want them to be?

    MARTI BAILEY: Remember earlier, when I mentioned about the list of the questions you want to ask, or the things you want to discuss? Those are really important to prioritize. Have those in priority order. What is the most important thing you want to achieve at that doctor appointment? And then start with that, and stick to it. Stick to your list, stick to your point. And many times, and especially in your first appointment, you’re going to be so tempted to get to know your doctor and to be really social. But I would encourage you to try to keep that time to a minimum.

    GUY EAKIN: But you were saying that you want to make sure that you’re prioritizing your list and you’re helping your doctor stay on point and stick to the point in terms of the conversation.

    MARTI BAILEY: Absolutely.

    GUY EAKIN: When speaking with a doctor who wants to tell you all the things that you need to do, how do you move that, how do you move those questions along? How do you navigate those waters?

    MARTI BAILEY: So, here are some words I like to use if the physician is taking us down a path that I really don’t want to go, when I really want to concentrate on this priority goal. I’ll generally say something along this line: “I really am concerned about XYZ. Do you mind if we concentrate on that and get all my questions around that answered first?” And, generally, they’ll be very cooperative about that. They’re respectful about that in most cases.

    GUY EAKIN: That’s true. And I think sometimes we have—the physician will ask a question and tell you, “You know, Guy, Big Macs are really not the best thing for you.” And, darn it, I like Big Macs, and I know that as many times as a doctor’s going to tell me about that, you know, that’s probably not going to change my behavior. So, what kind of guidance would you have for helping a physician come to terms with who you are as a person in a way that’s not offensive, but allows them to just respect that this is where they’re going to get with you, and that this is your health and that you’re in control?

    MARTI BAILEY: One of the things that I find helpful, and I’ve encouraged other people to do, is to talk with the physician about—just, really be brutally honest. If they give you a protocol, or they give you a list of things to do, or they ask you to change your diet, and you know you’re not going to do that, just be honest with them, and say, “You know what, that doesn’t fit into my lifestyle. What can we do that accomplishes the same thing or gets close to that without my having to change the things that I love?”

    For example—I’ll give you an example. I don’t do very well with carbohydrates. And so, I was advised to give up white—anything white. You know, bread, rice, everything. So, essentially, what I said to my physician is, “You can ask me to do almost anything, but I really don’t think I can give up sushi, and that has white rice.” And so the physician helped me work around that, with getting rid of that—I can get it with brown rice, or I can change my diet for the rest of the day.

    But if you will be honest with the physician and tell them what works for you, even to when, what time of the day you’re more likely to take medication, whatever that works out to be. If you are honest with them, they can help you find a work-around. The danger is when they give you something that’s going to improve your health and you don’t do anything—you don’t tell them you don’t like it, and then you just choose not to do it.

    GUY EAKIN: So, we’re in the appointment with the ophthalmologist now, and we have our notepads, we have our listening partner—you know, our care partner—in there with us. And we know that the physician is going to give us some specific recommendations about treatments, and we’ll probably write those things down. But what are the things that we might forget to ask? What are the things that, when a physician prescribes a new prescription, or begins talking to you about a treatment—what are the things in your experience people forget to ask, or think about later on, or may not even know that they need to ask?

    MARTI BAILEY: With a new prescription in particular, I would ask if there’s a generic equivalent, in case the insurance company you work with doesn’t have that in their formulary. I would also ask, are there any side effects you should be concerned about, or—I know that this might be offensive to some physicians, but I think it’s appropriate to always ask—“Is there a chance this could interfere with anything else I’m taking?” And then, also, I think it’s really important to prepare yourself, too, by asking the physician quite frankly, “What is this supposed to do for me, and what positive benefits will I gain by adding another medication to my list?”

    GUY EAKIN: So, can you give us an example—I mean, I hear that coming up time and time again, and people—physicians usually have a reason for making a prescription. But can you give us an example of that situation, where maybe the medication that’s being prescribed might be for a surprising reason? Do you have something from familiarity with a case study that you might be able to share with us that sort of says, What? Where someone might’ve found a little bit of surprise, and maybe have said, “Well, maybe that medication’s not necessary after all, or maybe we should look at a different medication”?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, I think that—depending on your history with certain physicians, and depending on whether this is your ophthalmologist we’re talking about, or a primary care physician, and depending on how many medications you take—if a person takes, let’s say, 15 medications. Every time you add one more medication, there’s a possibility of what we call polypharmacy, which is what happens when you put all of those together. So, the idea would be that you make sure as you’re adding medications that it’s something that you’re willing to add. So, for example, some physicians will suggest a medication to get rid of a symptom, but it may not be a symptom that you’re that averse to, so you may not want to have the side effects for something like that. “Okay, well, I can put up with the condition or the symptom as long as I don’t have to put up with these side effects.” So you just want to weigh the balance, and ask the physician to help you do that.

    GUY EAKIN: I think that’s fantastic. Also, you’d talked about asking about generic equivalents—


    GUY EAKIN: —and certainly in macular degeneration we have only a few approved therapies, and there’s a lot of differences, especially in cost and coverage, on those therapies, so I think that’s terrific advice. So, just to recap, asking about side effects, asking about drug interactions are all things that we want to make as bullet points on the list of the notes we’re taking.

    So, when there’s a potential side effect, what’s the best way to—what’s the best way when you’re worried about a potential side effect to request follow up from that physician? Let me think if I can rephrase that a little bit. If I’m worried that because of polypharmacology that you mentioned that there’s going to be potential neurological outcomes, I would imagine that you would have a conversation with the physician about where you would go to actually have those potential side effects assessed. And I guess maybe what I would ask you is, what’s the best way of asking the questions of whether or not side effects are something that would be treated within the physician’s office or by bringing in a team of physicians? And what type of consulting might be done by that physician to get you the care that you might need for those sorts of observations? Is there a standard way of going about that and figuring out what that pathway would be for referrals before you actually come up on the problem? Or is that something that you would take up after the symptoms present themselves?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, I think it’s best to address the issue with your physician up front and say that you want to consider the possible side effects, the benefits of taking the medication or doing the protocol for the treatment versus the possible side effects. And, as I mentioned, have the physician help you weigh that out. And at the end of that, if the physician says that your condition perhaps will progress unfavorably if you don’t do the treatment, then at that point, then I would want to suggest to our listeners that they ask how we would address the side effects.

    GUY EAKIN: Okay. So, that sounds fine. I think we’re going to get to a point here where we’ve left the doctor’s office, we’re going to be at home, and there’s going to be a period of time where we’re still trying to figure out how to debrief and understand what just happened at the appointment and maybe figure out what the next steps would be. So once you get home, what are the things that you recommend that a patient do in order to make the most of that visit that they just had, and whatever the next one will be?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, it would be great, since somebody is obviously taking you to the doctor appointment—a care partner, a friend—maybe to go out for coffee and sit down and talk about what happened, and lessons learned, how did that go, and just sort of do a debrief right then while it’s fresh for everybody. And that will give you some input for your own experience going in next time when you have your follow-up appointment.

    And to that point, be sure while you’re there at the physician’s office to go ahead and book your next appointment, and then that friend, if the friend is a good choice to go with you this time, and you think that that person would be great for next time, go ahead and ask them if they might be willing to take you again. They could be your care partner for that particular physician.

    And I think that would go a long way, too, to having that be a consistent experience for both of you, the care partner and/or friend, and the physician. Then everybody always knows what to expect.

    So, getting back to the debrief, you go back—go have your coffee, talk about what happened. A lot of times we end up—especially if there’s some bad news given—we sometimes come out of the doctor’s office in a bit of a numbed state, or a little bit of spaced out, and so we have to decompress about that and figure out if maybe you’re not the kind of person that can talk about it right away; and that’s okay. As soon as you’re able to talk about it, then go ahead and make a list of the things that you would like to change for next time.

    GUY EAKIN: Alright. We come home—regardless if it’s the ophthalmologist or another doctor—we come home with prescriptions or advice, and the issue of how closely we follow that advice always comes up. And I can say at BrightFocus we’re aware of a number of NIH studies that say that the timing of office visits for ophthalmology, especially for macular degeneration, is very important, and whatever your doctor is recommending—you really want to make sure that if it’s a monthly visit, you’re really staying on that calendar making a monthly visit. But for the other things that might require taking action on our own in our house, taking a pill, doing something every day, what types of advice do you give to help people make that possible, or report back if it’s not possible? What are the tricks of the trade there?

    MARTI BAILEY: There are a couple of things. One, if you have a hard time remembering your medications and taking them on time, there are actually some electronic items that can be pre-programmed with your medications in them and will actually give you a little alarm that says it’s time for you to take it. You push the button and there the medications are, prepared. So you have to set that up for yourself for the week, but that is a device that can be used. Some people use the little medication box—pill reminder boxes. Other people use envelopes. Whatever works for you is what you should be doing to help keep yourself on schedule.

    GUY EAKIN: Well, I’d like to take some questions, but one of the first questions we have is about second opinions. And this seems like this is an area where one might have conflicting emotions around asking, telling a doctor that you’re going to seek out another doctor’s opinion. What’s customary there, how do people actually tell a doctor they’re going to get a second opinion, are there any conditions in which you might want to have a little bit of diplomacy around that?

    MARTI BAILEY: Sure. It’s almost like breaking up with your hairdresser; it’s a miserable thing to think about doing. But just remember, when you are getting ready to say this, you’re going to just advise the physician that you would like just to talk to somebody else about it. And most physicians, if it’s somebody that you really want to be seeing yourself, most physicians are going to be very comfortable with your getting a second opinion. And, quite bluntly, if they’re not okay with it, it may not be the physician you want.

    GUY EAKIN: I think that’s great advice. And here’s another sort of politic question that actually comes in from one of our friends in North Dakota who has ongoing frustration with a doctor that she sees and one that many others in her independent living community share. And she says that no matter what her concern is, the doctor always tells her that she’s experiencing it because of age. And so how should she handle this situation to get the answers that she needs for very real symptoms?

    MARTI BAILEY: My recommendation would be what I heard someone say just today, and that is, “Would you be giving me the same counsel if I were 50 years younger?” And if the physician can say, “Yes, I would be having you do the same thing,” then that’s one thing. But if the physician would say, “If you’re 30, 40, 50 years younger, I would give different advice,” then I would encourage that physician to perhaps be a little less ageist and start treating the condition and not the age.

    GUY EAKIN: I think that word, “ageist,” is something that we hear coming up more and more often, but it’s not a word that’s been talked about, and it is, for many people, absolutely as offensive as racist or sexist language. And I tend to completely agree with you, and confronting those doctors in that situation is well within anybody’s rights. Another listener, this is Burton from California, is asking the question again about places to go for help. And maybe—certainly the BrightFocus website has some, has many resources available for information, as well as for doctor locator services, but would you mind repeating the information you gave about community services for Mr. Burton?

    MARTI BAILEY: Sure, absolutely! The Area Agencies on Aging are a good place to go. Many physicians might be able to refer you to a local organization. There are organizations like the National Federation for the Blind, there are many local organizations that help people with low vision, and you can contact those as well. But I would start with your Area Agency on Aging—they are really designed to be a clearinghouse for every kind of issue that may face anybody over 50 years old.

    GUY EAKIN: And specifically within that community, so that’s wonderful advice. Here’s a question saying that “My doctor seems very rushed all of the time and doesn’t have time to talk.” So what’s the best way to address this?

    MARTI BAILEY: Well, the first thing I would do is—I’m in a position where I have an opportunity to hear from both patients and physicians. And so, many physicians find themselves being rushed because they’ve had an emergency, they’ve gotten behind. One of the things I would really advise you to do is just let them know, just call attention to the fact that you feel rushed. And no one can really argue with the fact that you feel rushed, and no one can take real offense to that. So if you state it in terms of a feeling—“You know, Doctor, I feel rushed right now, and I’m pretty sure you don’t mean for me to feel that way,” and I say that in quotes because you could give them a good reputation to live up to. They may not really care if you feel that way, but you want them to believe at that moment that you know that they don’t want you to feel rushed. And so that will really help you to get the physician to slow down a little bit.

    At the same time, the other thing I would recommend is making sure that the physician takes their notes when they’re not looking at you and talking to you when they are looking at you. So, in other words, you don’t want them taking their notes, talking to you, and looking at their computer. But I would just encourage you to ask them to please, you know, “Can I have your attention when you’re talking to me?”

    GUY EAKIN: Alright. I think—being very direct, being very honest seems to be today’s overarching theme.

    MARTI BAILEY: It’s a theme, and I think that, in general, those of us who are 50 and older were really raised to not be direct with physicians, were raised to listen and to not pose questions. And I think that most physicians now want to be your partner, and they want to work together with you. The only way they can is if we are honest and we are direct.

    GUY EAKIN: Alright. We have time for one more question. What if you’ve done some research on your condition and perhaps found it on the Internet, or through friends, maybe even another doctor, and the doctor is giving different advice? So how—without setting up an inflammatory sort of confrontational exchange, how do you suggest handling that? How do you present information that you might be finding in the newspaper or on the Internet to the doctor?

    MARTI BAILEY: I personally have done that, because I do a fair amount of research myself online. And I think physicians now expect—in fact, if they don’t expect people to find information other places, then they are also probably not a physician you want to have. Because you want somebody who keeps up with things him- or herself as well. But what you want to do is just be honest.  Again, just keep being honest, keep being forthright, and say, “I found this information; I would like to discuss this with you.”

    GUY EAKIN: Well, thank you so much. That was the last moment we had for a question this time. I want to take a moment to thank Marti Bailey for joining us today, and thank everyone who joined the call and asked questions.

    We will be posting a recording and a transcript of our call on our website, and you can also listen and download past chats on both iTunes and SoundCloud. And if you don’t have access to those, you can always call us—and I’ll give that number in a moment—and we can send you a transcript or figure out a way of getting a recording of the call to you.

    Our next chat will be on “Meeting the Challenges of Macular Degeneration,” and it’ll be a personal journey, a personal story from one of our friends at the BrightFocus Foundation. And that’ll be on Monday, November 24, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, that’s 10:00 a.m. Pacific.

    We certainly encourage you to register and submit questions in advance, and we’ll be sending you a reminder email if you registered for this call. In fact, you can actually register for that November chat right now, and also request free low-vision materials from BrightFocus, like our Macular Degeneration Essential Facts brochure.

    You can do that by calling us at 1‑800‑437‑2423 or by visiting our website at, that’s dot o‑r‑g. Again, that’s 1-800-437‑2423 or

    Thank you everyone, again, for all of your feedback, and if you’d like to leave a comment after the call, just stay on the line. Thanks again from all of us at BrightFocus and have a great day.

  • The information provided here is a public service of BrightFocus Foundation and is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical, dietary, and/or exercise advice. Any medications or supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical products or therapies.

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