what should I ask my doctor?
June 11, 2011 2:08 PM   Subscribe

What should I use my Doctor's Appointment to talk about? It seems like all my problems have gotten better between when I scheduled it (three weeks ago) and today. The appointment is on Monday. Look inside to see some of my ailments and tell me if you think I should bring any/all of them up to my Doctor. Note: if I can't come up with a good reason, I'll cancel the appointment because I only am allowed a few a year by my "insurance" :$

  • I made the appointment because i had terrible wrist pain after spending a day typing like a demon. I've had keyboard wrists for a while now - too much typing or mousing and they feel really painful. However, my new job requires less computer usage, so it hasn't really been bothering me. What can a doctor say besides "Stop using the computer so much"?
  • Another thing: Last Wednesday, I decided to go jogging. At first, my heel and ankle hurt like hell when it rolled, but then it felt fine after I had been running a bit. Later that night, I couldn't put any pressure on it at all. The next day, it was a little sore but it feels fine now. I just figure I need to run more to build up foot muscles, but could I have damaged it some how?
  • I've got back pain, but I think that's from sitting like a troll all day. I don't think I need a doctor to tell me to sit up straighter. I know the exercises I'm supposed to do to strengthen my back muscles, but I don't tend to do them. as a result, I have a hard time bending over, especially in the morning. But, what's a doctor going to tell me that I don't already know about that?
  • Related to that, I've been thinking about taking up martial arts, and I worry that somehow my wrist pain would be exasperated by that. Is that worth going to the doctors for?
  • Also, there are cysts in my body that can cause pain if pressured - on my back, in my wrists, etc. Is there any reason to have him poke them? Would their existence affect my ability to participate in martial arts at all?
  • I also have been having really terrible allergies that were driving me mad, but I think I almost completely solved by getting an over-the-counter saline squeeze-bottle.
  • I don't know, but I think I still have asthma, and have been denying it to myself since high school. Can my doctor do anything besides refer me to an even more expensive doctor? Are there non-drug remedies I can try before bothering my Doctor about it?
  • I've heard that my low-thyroid is caused by an autoimmunity which will eventually give me cancer. I'm scared that if I say anything about this to my doctor, it might be opening a whole can of worms and that if I needed to know about it, he would have told me, because it's baloney anyway.
  • (WARNING: TMI!) My butt bleeds when I use the toilet paper on campus because it is terrible. I don't know if I should be worried about this, or if should just try to poop less on campus.
  • Also, I've been thinking about getting a Vasectomy because, why the heck not? Is there anything my doctor can tell me about this that I couldn't just learn on my own?
So, please help me decide if I should take any of this to my doctor, or try to cancel the appointment and save it for flu season.

posted by rebent to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was with you on cancelling until you said the bit about your thyroid. Go see your doctor. Take this list. Start with thyroid, go to the cysts, and then if there's time, cover the rest.
posted by mittens at 2:11 PM on June 11, 2011

Frankly, if you pick at yourself, you're going to find all kinds of aches and pains. If you only have a few doctor's visits per year and money is an issue for you, I would save them for something of a more acute nature, like a strep throat or an earache.

The thyroid and asthma could be troubling, but they seem to be something you have neglected for quite awhile. Since it's only June, why not wait until the end of the year to use a visit for them, in case you end up needing the visits for something else in the meantime. (Or if you do, you could bring those issues up at that appointments.)
posted by unannihilated at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2011

Get general checkup. I got around to having one. Blood tests showed activity that alerted doctor to send me for exam with specialist, who found parathyroid benign cancer. Sent to clinic. Removed one of the 4 smallish things attached--the cancerous one. All done and all better. Blood quickly got to normal...doctor told me that with what seemed so small a thing could if ignored lead to big depression, leaching of calcium from bones.
So: get checkup..
posted by Postroad at 2:24 PM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would definitely mention the combination of thyroid autoimmune disorder and achy joints. Also the bleeding problem, if it's possibly caused by constipation instead of toilet paper. I would do this because the doctor might test for Hashimoto's disease, and maybe all of these problems can be solved at once.
posted by Houstonian at 2:28 PM on June 11, 2011

I would go - this is "allowed" by your insurance company, and you have a number of little ailments (repetitive stress wrist, bum ankle, bad back, painful cysts, allergies, asthma) you can cover this within the first five minutes, then spend time on the more serious questions of thyroid and vasectomy information. Get a full workup done, it's worth the time and cost. A short visit now can obviate serious consequences later if serious issues issues are uncovered and left untreated. So go.
posted by seawallrunner at 2:31 PM on June 11, 2011

re: the thyroid: I'm already taking doctor-supervised medication for that.
posted by rebent at 2:31 PM on June 11, 2011

As answered above, first, and lastly talk about the vasectomy. If you get one, let me know, I'll give you the Golden Guy award!

(and you can take a short roll of your own paper in your back pack, ya know)
posted by BlueHorse at 2:33 PM on June 11, 2011

What can a doctor say besides "Stop using the computer so much"?

There's quite a lot you can do about computer RSI, from how you sit or hold your hands when you're using the computer, to stretches you can do. I think it could be worth talking to a doctor about it, but probably not worth a visit in itself. I also found this book informative and helpful in keeping my wrists happy, even though I never had the acutely-debilitating RSI that so many of my friends did in the dot-com era.

I think it would be a great idea to go in for a physical and also "hey, I have a laundry list of minor problems that I can live with, but I'd like advice if there is any". There's always the possibility that the doctor will have some useful suggestion, or will see something as an indication of something more serious. And periodic physicals are a good idea.
posted by hattifattener at 2:35 PM on June 11, 2011

What can a doctor say besides "Stop using the computer so much"?

In my experience, general practitioners are not very knowledgeable about RSI, but they can refer you to a physical therapist or hand surgeon who might be much more so. The book hattifattener suggests is very good. I'd also suggest the rsi and cts tags on MetaFilter (even if it is not carpal tunnel).
posted by grouse at 4:37 PM on June 11, 2011

Personally I wonder if you might have a mild anxiety problem. Not so much the list of problems but the associated concerns/uncertainty and the fact that you are undecided/ambivalent about what to do, even whether to keep an appointment. I have no position on whether you should/should not keep your appointment. I do think you might reflect on whether this ambivalence and fretfulness includes other aspects of your life and might interfere with daily pleasure, focus and relaxation. If it does you might consider whether this is something worth addressing. If you decide it does, then you will have a new concern. This may not be what you want to here but you asked (well, kind of).
posted by rmhsinc at 5:11 PM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you think you've been having trouble with your asthma, your doctor can just prescribe you an albuterol inhaler. There's no comparable home remedy, and it's invaluable if you start having an asthma attack.

Your thyroid needs periodic monitoring even if you're on medication, so that could be worth a check if you haven't gotten it checked recently. Also, how about your immunizations? Your cholesterol levels? Need a check in?

If you haven't been doing much exercise, and you're planning to take up a rigorous program like martial arts, it's probably good to have your doctor sign off on this unless you're (aside from hypothyroidism) a healthy young person. If you jump into too much exercise too quickly, you're more likely to end up with more aches and pains like the ones you've been having, or worse.

The bleeding that you've been noticing could be hemorrhoids - your doctor can check for those.

It sounds like you could easily use up the 15 minutes or so you'll have with the doctor checking in on a few of these issues and getting some advice.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 2:15 PM on June 12, 2011

No vasectomy for you, pal.

I don't think vasectomy is a particularly good idea for anybody, but for a man with a history of auto-immune issues, it's really dumb-- or should I say literally dumb:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 14, 2007) — Northwestern University researchers have discovered men with an unusual form of dementia have a higher rate of vasectomy than men the same age who are cognitively normal.

The dementia is Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), a neurological disease in which people have trouble recalling and understanding words. In PPA, people lose the ability to express themselves and understand speech. ...

Sandra Weintraub ... began investigating a possible link between the surgery and PPA when one of her male patients connected the onset of his language problem at age 43 to the period after his vasectomy. ...

Of the non-impaired men, 16 percent had undergone a vasectomy. In contrast, 40 percent of the men with PPA had had the surgery.

"That's a huge difference," said Weintraub, director of neuropsychology in the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. "It doesn't mean having a vasectomy will give you this disease, but it may be a risk factor to increase your chance of getting it."

posted by jamjam at 3:04 PM on June 12, 2011

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