Before You Leave and After the Visit
Schedule a follow-up appointment before you leave the office. Get the office to write down the information on an appointment card that includes the date and time of the visit. Also get the phone number and address of the office. If you have a phone, ask the doctor’s office to give you a reminder call before the appointment.
If your doctor refers you to a specialist—it is important to follow-up. If things don’t work out with the specialist, go back to the doctor who referred you so that he/she can keep trying to help you.
When you see a doctor, ask for copies of any test results, procedures, referrals or medications given. These are part of your medical record. If you wait until later to ask for copies, they may be hard to get. You may be charged money and it can take a long time. Keep copies in a safe place where you will be able to find them later. If you don’t have a place to keep them, ask someone you trust (friend, case manager, drop-in center, etc.) to keep the copies. Ask about potential side effects if you are given new medication. Also ask if there are ways to make side effects easier to deal with.
After the visit, it can be helpful to make a list of things like:
- Dates of future appointments
- Dates of referral appointments
- Tests that were done to remind you to ask for results
- Any new medications that you were prescribed
Tips for Taking Your Medicine
- Get a pill case—the kind with a little box for each day of the week. They can be found at drugstores.
- Many people have found that getting on methadone or buprenorphine is helpful when they need to take other medicines on a schedule.
- Ask someone you trust to hold the medicine if you think you might lose it. They can also remind you to take it when you need to.
- Find a pharmacy that is close to where you stay or cop drugs so it is easy to fill your prescriptions.
- If you take street drugs every day, you could use copping as a reminder to take your medicine.
- Talk to your doctor about your schedule (what time you wake up and go to sleep) and when it would be best to take your medicine.
- Find out if your medication needs to be taken with food or on an empty stomach.
- Ask the doctor what will happen if you drink alcohol while taking your medicine. It may not be a problem to take your medicine AND drink—it is better to ask your doctor than to stop taking your medicine. Some medicines (like some anti-depressants) will make you feel drunk faster though—so be careful.