Going to the doctor’s office isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. A typical visit involves taking time out of your day, filling out forms with a bunch of questions you can’t remember the answers to, and getting into a room with a stranger to divulge really personal information that could affect your health.
Even with stress levels high, you’d probably expect most people to be on their best behavior when visiting the doc. So it might be surprising to hear some of the more outrageous things that go on behind closed doors. Here are four examples straight from comedian and doctor Priyanka Wali. She’s seen and heard it all. You won’t believe what people actually do! Thankfully, Dr. Wali also shares tips on what to do instead.
1. Text or use cell phones during the face-to-face visit
No, it doesn't matter if it’s the final episode of “Breaking Bad” and you're almost to the end. Put your phone away until the visit is over. We’re all used to being on our phones throughout the day, but your time is limited and your doctor wants to give you the best care. Be smart and turn off your smartphone. The only two exceptions are if you need to show your doctor a photo of your rash (good job for being conscientious), or if you want nutrition feedback on your Sunday brunch photo. (For the record, that is literally the only situation in which basic brunch IG photos are useful for your MD.)
2. Lie about their medical history
Don’t be ashamed to be honest! Anything you do, your doctor needs to know about it. It can be hard to give a detailed explanation of your bodily discharges or admit that you actually drink twice as much as you said on the intake form. But lying to your doctor may give you the same results as Dr. Google.
Remember, your doctor isn’t there to judge you. They want to help you. Any information you withhold is only going to make their job harder and may actually prevent them from giving you the best care. You’re only hurting yourself by lying to your doctor, so don't do it!
3. Flirt or make sexual advances
Even if your doctor has 2.4 million followers on Instagram, this isn’t “Grey’s Anatomy.” In real life, the physician-patient bond is supposed to be sacred — a bond of complete trust. Any moves you make toward your doctor could potentially destroy the relationship and cause harm. Dating and doctoring don’t mix, so if you can’t be professional because you find your doctor truly irresistible, find another doctor immediately!
4. Yell at the care team
No matter how frustrated you feel in a doctor’s office, it’s never OK to swear at your medical team. You can calmly express your dissatisfaction, but don’t be derogatory, cruel, or racist.
Sure, there may be times when you feel like the ancillary staff is rude, but there are healthy ways to express your frustration, like writing a letter or posting a Yelp review.
Sometimes just taking a few deep breaths and then letting your physician know that someone at the clinic was rude to you can peacefully resolve the situation.
Want to learn more about running your doctor’s appointment like a boss? Read this.
Dr. Priyanka Wali is a board-certified internal medicine physician and a stand-up comic. She performs all throughout California and has been featured in Women's Health Magazine, Uproxx, Cosmopolitan, India Currents Magazine, as well as on The Today Show and KFOG Radio. You can follow her on twitter @WaliPriyanka.