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Set the stage for a successful conversation
Although you probably can't rearrange medical office space (or even many hospital rooms), you can control some of your surroundings to maintain a feeling of being a partner in the medical process and not a wayward student being sent to the principal's office.
- When you are ushered into an examination room, sit in a chair, not on the exam table. If you are asked to sit on the exam table for a blood pressure reading or other measurements, move to a chair when the measurements are finished.
- If you have a choice, choose the chair that is closest to the doctor's chair.
- If you are too weak to sit in a chair, have the head of the examination table raised to a sitting or half-sitting position.
- In a hospital room, if you are in bed, offer your doctor a chair. The one nearest the head of the bed will allow the easiest conversation between you and your doctor. You can also offer a spot on the foot of the bed if that is comfortable for you to do.
- If you are sitting in your hospital room, offer the chair nearest to you.
- If your encounter is in the hall, say, "Let's go back to my room," then walk in that direction. This not only encourages privacy, but allows you to choose the most comfortable place to sit and feel in control.
- Extend your hand when the doctor walks into the examination room to begin the visit on a more equal level. This can even be done if you are lying flat on your back in a hospital bed.
To learn more about the book "Handbook for Mortals" click here.