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Going to the Doctor

Tips to make your next trip better

By Meredith Stanton | 01.04.2010
Originally Published March 2008

As a kid with a bleeding disorder, going to see your doctor can be as ordinary as playing with friends or going to school. The doctor’s office or hemophilia treatment center (HTC) can be somewhere to meet friends and other kids like you. Best of all, it’s a place to help you feel better! But for some of you, going to the doctor might not be so fun. Here are a few tips to make your next doctor’s visit better:

Before Your Visit

It’s important to be prepared. Ask your parents or guardians any questions you have before your appointment, like: What will the doctor do? Will it hurt? How long will we be there? Can I play when I get home or will I have to wait? If you’re wondering about something, ask your parents to explain it to you. Sometimes knowing what to expect can help you feel better about the visit. If your parents are unsure about something, then write down your question. That way, you’ll remember to ask the doctor or nurse during the appointment.

During Your Visit

Once you’re in the examination room, the doctor or nurse will come in and say hello to you. If it’s a routine checkup or procedure, the doctor or nurse might ask you some questions, like how you’re feeling or whether there’s anything that’s bothering you or that you’re worried about. Try to be honest and don’t be nervous or embarrassed about anything. Doctors have seen and heard it all! Here are a few more ways you can keep busy and stay comfortable at the doctor’s:

  • Distract yourself. Bring your favorite book or toy to play with during the visit. Try listening to music. Bring along your favorite coloring books and crayons, markers or colored pencils. Watch TV if there is one in the waiting room. Talk to your parents and the doctor about anything other than the visit, like a movie you just saw, what you did at the park or what friends you played with that week. This will help keep your mind off any pain or discomfort you might be feeling from the ­procedure.
  • Try to relax. It may seem silly, but paying attention to how you breathe can actually help you during the visit. Remember to breathe in and out regularly, taking deep breaths.
  • Stay positive. During the visit, keep yourself in a good mood by repeating some positive thoughts. For example, say to yourself, “My factor makes me feel better,” “I am doing a great job,” or “After this, I will go home and...” By going over these statements in your head, it will make the visit go faster and you’ll likely feel better afterward.
  • Keep a journal of your visits. Using all of your five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell), write down as many details as possible during your time at the doctor. Describe what colors you see and what the room smells like. Record what happens at the doctor’s office, what things he or she tells you to remember, and any questions you might have asked during the appointment.

After Your Visit

If you remember anything you wanted to ask your doctor, but didn’t get a chance to ask, write it down in your journal. That way, you’ll have the question ready for your next visit.

There’s a lot to do before, during and after your doctor visit to make you feel better about being there. Remember—the medical team is there to help you!

Interested in finding out more about going to the doctor and staying healthy? Then visit KidsHealth, which offers more great tips—just for kids.