During your initial appointment, I will ask you to tell me your ‘story’. What is going on that is troubling you? What happened around the time that it started? What makes it better? What makes it worse?
Once I have some information about your main concern, I will also ask you questions about your medical history, family history and other aspects of your health. This might mean that I ask about your digestion even if you came for help with arthritis. Don’t worry – there’s method to the apparent madness! Every part of our body works in cooperation with every other part. Very often, the source of a problem is in a different part of the body from where you feel it. That may sound strange, but each of us have experienced it. Ever had a headache after too much to drink? The problem is that excess alcohol has been too much on your liver – but you feel it in your head. This is why my questions may not seem relevant to your concern. I am simply looking for links and clues.
If anything I ask makes you uncomfortable you do not have to answer. If you don’t understand why I ask something – feel free to check with me!
After questioning, I will perform a physical examination, looking at things like your skin health, your nails, weight, colour and blood pressure. These give me more clues about what is going on in your body.
After gathering all of this information, I will put together a treatment plan and explain to you what I think is going on. My treatment recommendations will aim to address the underlying cause of your symptoms and I will explain how each recommendation can help you specifically. At the end of each consult we usually book a follow-up appointment to see how you are going after an appropriate time on my treatment plan. For some people, this will be a few days away (for acute illnesses such as flu), for others, it may be several months. If I believe we need to do some tests, I will also recommend these at the end of your consultation.
Note that if the patient is a child, it is a great idea to bring another adult with you. The child can come for physical examination only (which I can do at the beginning of the consultation) and then go and play in the nearby park with the other adult so that they do not get bored. Just let me know if you wish to do this.