Taking yourself to the doctor

image of stethoscope with heartbeat chart

For most of us, our parents have always been there to look after us. They made us chicken soup when we were sick, checked our temperatures, and most importantly, took us to the doctor when we needed some help a level up from tender loving care.

Now that we’re grown ups, our first forays into the world of seeking medical advice are happening, and often it can be a pretty scary ordeal. I’m not sure why, but making and attending a doctor’s appointment is the one of the seven wonders of adulthood that is the hardest to complete.

Perhaps it’s because the concept of doing it alone is so foreign, or maybe because we don’t like to talk to strangers about our private business, but whatever is stopping you from being a super successful adult, this article is here to help you overcome your doctor-attending fears.

Make an appointment

Even if you feel like you aren’t that sick, and that you can probably put off going to the doctor for a few more weeks (or months, if we’re being honest with ourselves), if you’re really feeling lousy just take the plunge and make an appointment. And if you’re really feeling better before your appointment then you can always cancel. Lots of medical centres have online booking now, which makes it very easy to create an appointment. If not, calling up is a really simple process as well.

Get there early

Doctors have become kind of famous for running behind schedule and having long wait times (as well as messy handwriting), but it’s important to arrive at the clinic about 10 minutes before your appointment. This will give you time to check in with reception and fill out any forms. This is especially important if it’s your first time seeing this particular doctor because there will definitely be paperwork about your personal details and medical history.

Prepare to talk

If this is your first trip to the doctor flying solo, actually talking to your doctor instead of looking over at your mum to explain your ailments can be a bit nerve-wracking. But it’s the job of your doctor to listen to you and make the decisions that they think are the best for your health. So just take a deep breath and explain what’s wrong the best you can, and make sure not to leave any details out that could be important.

Have Medicare sorted

Whether you’re still on your parents’ Medicare card or you have your own (or both), make sure you have a copy and take it with you to your appointment. If you’re a new patient at the clinic you’ll need your Medicare card information when you fill out paperwork. Before your appointment make sure your bank account is linked with your Medicare account. This can be done online or on the Medicare app, and will make the bulk-billing process incredibly easy.