Be Specific with Your Doctor


What does your doctor mean when he or she says,

“How are you doing?”

Your doctor does not want to hear a generic answer to this question.  Simply saying, “I don’t feel good,” is not an adequate response for your doctor to help you.  Get to the specifics.

Here are some examples:
  1. You may be feeling tired.  Your response should be filled with details.
    • “When I try to walk, I get very tired.”
    • “I am coughing through the night, and I can’t sleep.”
    • “I cannot breathe well enough to do the things that I want to do.”
  2. You may be coughing.  Your response should have these kinds of details.
    • “My coughing is keeping me up all night.”
    • “This cough is dry and won’t go away.”
    • “I am coughing up something, and I’m concerned about it.”
    • “The area around my ribs hurt.  Could the coughing be the cause?”
  3. You may be having some pain.  Your response should include details of the pain.
    • “I have pain in my back, just under the shoulder blades.”
    • “My chest hurts and is sometimes tight.”
    • “My throat hurts when I swallow.”
    • “I am hurting around my ribs.”
    • “My feet and legs hurt.  Could this be related to COPD?”

Remember that it does not matter how random the concern may be.  It is always best to check with your pulmonary specialist.  You never know; your COPD may have an effect on the craziest things.

Trust your doctors, and give them all of the information that you can possibly give.  It will only help them take care of you better.