Posted by Nightingale | 9:37 AM | , , | 5 comments »


Well ladies, this is my very first blog ever. I've been thinking about it for days. Imagining how clever I would sound, how interesting this would be for everyone. And you Mary Ricksen can now step up to the podium and accept your award for best blog ever! Now that I sit here, I can only hope I don't damage anyones psyche with boredom.Sometimes the easiest things are the hardest to do. So in the beginning I tried to think of something to say that would wow everyone. What the heck do I know anything about that might interest people. Since I sat behind that desk, in that dental office for so many years, I thought, hmmm. So here goes.

How do you get the most out of that dentist or doctors office visit? There are some things you just have to know. The most important, and I mean most important, thing is, suck up to the lady at the front desk. I was always amazed at how people would come up to me and rag big time about having to wait. Now I do understand the frustration involved. You don't want to be there. You're scared. And you have to pay for it. Not a good scenario to begin with an then you have to wait too. Outrageous! So furiously you go up to the girl, as people so often called me. Not that I have a name or anything. Anyways, the patient starts to give her what she is due. Torture, sarcasm, anger, you name it, I've heard it. Then when that angry, I'm done with this, patient is seated and the doctor walks in, magically all is forgiven.

Never mind you just under your breath mumbled nasties, or worse yet stood up there in front of everyone and told her she needs to do her job right. And you know just how it should be done. No thought is given to why you are waiting. Most of the time it's the fault of that minor god you have just smiled at and greeted as if nothing was wrong. Ladies I am here to tell you it's not her fault. Not to mention the fact that the girl sitting there is the door keeper. You don't even get in the door, unless she makes you that appointment. Which could take forever. You know what I mean? So start with being really nice to that front desk person. She has a lot of power. She opens the mail, so that request might get lost. There isn't an opening until hell freezes over. Your bill could be the highest with every little thing charged for. Or it could be reasonable. So cardinal rule is suck up to the front desk girl. Note that this also applies to aides, assistants, the other girls, basically whoever else works there. They run the place, just remember that when X mas comes around. Consider the gift of candy, cookies, flowers, whatever you give, just consider it necessary. You'll get to speak to the doctor, swift appointments. You get my drift?

Now you're finally in the chair, or sitting on the edge of the examination table and your mind goes blank. Oh God you think, what did I want to ask? A list would help, write it down, give that note to the doctor. It will become a permanent part of your records, and you get all the answers you need, hopefully. Give the doctor a list of your symptoms no matter how minuscule they sound, they could mean something. You've all watched House, without all the symptoms even House can't help you. Don't waste the doctors time with what you think, just tell them what's wrong. Be concise when you speak. Bring someone with you. Then the two of you can later on sit and compare notes about the foreign language he just used as he spoke.

Ask him to speak English, and put it in terms you can understand. Tell the doctor you are not getting it. Ask, ask, ask. Then listen as well. Don't waste that ten minutes you get talking about life. Because the doctor will tell you, and that's not why you are there. This doctor will probably never be your personal friend.Even if he tells you all his troubles, when you leave, the doctor has plenty of other patients to speak with.Next, educate yourself. Know your stuff. Get a Merck Manual the home edition, and learn. Go home look up everything the doctor told you. It's your body and no one knows it like you do. You have to be proactive, the doctor has a thousand patients, and he cannot remember your medical problems. If you know what you are talking about, the doctor will have more respect for your abilities. You might even be able to help figure out what's wrong. If you're diabetic and your doctor says he wants to check your levels by taking an A1C test, you need to know what he is talking about. So learn as much as you can, it could save your life.

Know your medications, I mean read the literature. In this day and age, you go from Internist to Rheumatologist, to Endocronologist, and they all prescribe different meds to you. You have to know your stuff. One pill could affect the way another works. Intermixing the wrong medications could be really dangerous. Make sure your doctors are in communication when it comes to your medical history.If you call the doctors office and request something and it doesn't get done. Stay calm, take the persons name down, call them by name, and be nicely persistent. The staff has a lot to do, and unless someone is verbally abusive, they will get to your request. The nicer you are the more they are going to try to help you. Bring a book with you and don't get angry if you have to wait. We are all human, yes, I am here to tell you. Even the doctor has bodily functions. He is not a minor god, he or she is just a person, one who could afford medical school, and passed all the tests. The doctor can make mistakes, that's why you have to be proactive.

Next, know when you are not in the right place. Some offices just feel right to you, some disturb you the minute you walk in. So walk out, your instincts will usually be a good guide. Have your doctor do a total body look over. Can you see a spot on your lower spine. Would you know if it was serious? Ask if you need blood work. It should be done periodically, more so if you have a serious medical condition.

Keep your appointments. Unless your being held up at gunpoint the doctor will expect you to show up. If you have to cancel give them at least twenty-four hours notice if you can. Nothing makes them more annoyed than you not showing up. They probably have a waiting list of people who need to come in right away.So there it is, my take on how to get more out of your dentist or doctor appointment.

I hope it helps. Oh and go to the bathroom before they call you in. When you bring a patient in and they say they have to use the restroom, it is annoying. Why wait till they are ready to see you, and then waste your time in the bathroom?If anyone has any questions I'll do the best I can to help. I worked for over thirty years in medical or dental offices, and I went to nursing school but couldn't stand to see people suffer, so I didn't work in hospitals. No one ever died on me in a dental office. I went to school back when medicine was a goal you had to help people before medicine became strictly a business. Those were the days.

Thank you all for inviting me to join you. Sometime I'll tell you all about the maniac dentist I worked for. Every time I quit, I got a raise. I hope this has been interesting for you all and look forward to hearing more from you all.

The best advise I can give you is, stay healthy. It's a full time job.

Mary Ricksen


  1. Beth Trissel // May 30, 2008 at 11:14 AM  

    Mary, how wonderful to have you on board with the Fuzzies. We are blessed by your wit and wisdom. Here's to many more posts!

  2. Mary Ricksen // May 30, 2008 at 11:56 AM  

    Thanks Beth, I hope it helped. What a nice thing to say.

  3. Nightingale // May 30, 2008 at 12:57 PM  

    Good advice delivered in a witty manner. Good going,Mary. I echo Beth's welcome aboard.

  4. Mary Marvella // May 30, 2008 at 7:55 PM  

    Excellent job, New Mary! You're a keeper and a great blogger! Love the way your voice comes through.

    Marvelous Mary

  5. Mary Ricksen // May 30, 2008 at 8:28 PM  

    thanks Linda and Mary Marvelous. I'm glad it works.