I'm feeling hopeful again. The physical therapy for my arm, neck and shoulders has been very helpful; in fact I "graduated" from PT this week. Most helpful though, I think, has been Dr. Wasserstein's direction in taking medications. He has me on a schedule, taking 3 Amantadine capsules a day, and now I feel great!
So here's that promised list of "Do's" and "Dont's" for communicating with doctors and their minions:
Keep a record of your symptoms so you can tell them when a particular symptom started, what it's intensity was as opposed to now, what you were doing at the time, what makes it better,what makes it worse, etc..
Don't exaggerate or belittle your symptoms. Your doctor only has what you tell him/her to go by, when it comes right down to it, especially for neurological disorders. What you tell him is crucial to your care.
Practice what you are going to say to the doctor before you get there. I have even done this aloud while getting ready for work. I find that even if I don't stick to the "script" entirely, it helps to remember issues you wanted to bring up, and it seems, for me anyway, to cut down on the intimidation factor.
Don't be combative. I don't mean just nod your head and say "yes, doctor" to everything they tell you. What I'm saying is don't go looking for a fight. If you're angry about something that they are responsible for, try to keep cool and explain your complaint in a rational way, and don't be accusatory. Most doctors, it seems to me, get defensive very easily (scared of law suits probably) and then they stop listening.
Remember to thank the doctor and his/her staff for the job they've done (assuming they did a good job!)
I put together a card for my doctor with pictures of me and my friends at the Parkinson's Unity Walk, and thanked him for making this possible. I think he really appreciated that.
Don't let yourself get rushed into not getting all the answers you need. Don't say to yourself "well, he's too busy; I'll catch him next time". Get your questions answered and your needs addressed now!
Be positive. It always make the conversation more fun.