Six Annoying Things Doctors Tell Their Patients

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Visiting the doctor can be a stressful ordeal, and not just because it’s often related to some sort of medical issue. Between all the forms to fill out and the fact that you spend more time in the waiting room than you do actually interacting with your physician, it can seem like a major hassle.


While in reality the vast majority of doctors are highly trained, extremely skilled, and consistently precise, nobody’s perfect. In fact, according to a study reported by CNN, 27 percent of 422 doctors studied were found to have a “high number of difficult encounters.” Those doctors were “more than nine times as likely to say they had provided ‘suboptimal care’ in the past year.”


So while most trips to the doctor are straightforward and beneficial to the patient’s health and well-being, there are going to be times when a doctor and patient just don’t get along for some reason. Here are six statements physicians utter that make our eyes roll:


1. “Try to stay off your feet.”
Sure, this makes sense when your walking could exacerbate a preexisting condition, and in such cases, crutches or perhaps even a wheelchair could be necessary. However, in less serious cases—especially when a long period of rest is prescribed—it just isn’t a realistic option. Unless you want to go on disability, you’re probably going to have to get back on your feet at some point if you want to work. Usually we go to the doctor to find out how we can get back to being mobile and active, not to be told that we should lie down all day.


We heard another version of this statement from someone who recently underwent Lasik surgery. When problems arose, she was told she shouldn’t look at a computer screen for long periods of time. Too bad she’s an editor who sits in a cubicle all day; unless she feels like looking for a new career, she can’t follow those orders.


2. “This won’t hurt a bit.”
Usually, this line is used right before a sharp object is inserted into your arm or electric shocks are sent through your body. Notice that doctors never say this before using a tongue depressor or a stethoscope.


3. “Are you sexually active?”
Not only is this question awkward for the patient to answer, it’s incredibly vague. There’s also a big difference in health risks for a person who’s monogamous and for one who has several sexual partners. It also doesn’t take into account whether or not protection is used and what type of protection. While questions about sexual practices are often necessary, something about the wording of this particular question makes your doctor sound like an out-of-touch health teacher.


4. “We’re just about done.”
Usually this is said during an especially uncomfortable procedure. On the surface it isn’t a problematic phrase (you’d think it would be good news, actually), except it usually seems like doctors say this halfway through a series of shots or a painful test—not a time when the person going through these procedures would consider to be anywhere near the end. Clearly it’s a way to pacify a patient who’s obviously in pain and to give him or her a light at the end of the tunnel to focus on. But if there’s still plenty of pain left to endure after hearing this phrase from your physician, it can be extremely frustrating.


5. “We’ll need to see you again in a couple days for some tests.”
Usually the patient’s internal response to this statement is something like, “Wait, couldn’t these tests have been scheduled for today’s visit? I have to come back again?” While doctors are never asked to take time away from work to visit you again and again in your office, they sometimes forget that patients have lives—and jobs. Getting time off work repeatedly within a short timeframe can be difficult, especially if your manager is strict about paid time off or suspects that your doctor’s appointments aren’t legitimate.


6. “I just got some samples of a drug that might work for you.”
Most of the time, this is a harmless statement and the drug in question will help make you better. However, when you realize that your doctor is holding a pen with the drug’s name on it, which he uses to write down the prescription on a notepad with the same drug’s name, his or her motives can seem suspicious.


On the other hand, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of doctors are to be respected and listened to, especially when we find ourselves in their offices asking for help for what ails us. The best way to make sure your doctor provides optimum service is to come to your visits prepared with a list of your problems and an understanding that the doctor’s time is extremely valuable.


However, sometimes the doctor/patient relationship doesn’t pan out. If you can’t shake the feeling that your doctor is neglectful or offensive, it might make sense to try to change physicians. Sometimes it can pay to seek a second opinion.


Originally published on Excelle

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