Requested post-- what you *do* want from a patient.
-- Tell the truth, the first time. "Do you always take your medication?" "Yes." "Every day?" "Yes." "So you never miss a day?" "Oh, I miss days sometimes." Argh.
-- Answer questions like we're on the same team, not like we're the police investigators. "Can you describe your pain?" "No." "How long has it been going on?" "I don't know." "Is it always in the same place?" "Sometimes." This is not that helpful.
-- Realize there is uncertainty in medicine. Even if we run tests, we might still not find the answer and that doesn't mean we're bad doctors. Things don't always show themselves right away. Things aren't always clear. There is ambiguity.
-- Not think they're an expert because a friend told them something crazy. If your friend tells you cholesterol has to do with how many times a week you shampoo your hair, that doesn't make it true. If you think you have three lungs and one eye, that doesn't mean you're right. If you do actually possess knowledge, terrific, I am happy to talk about it. But "I thought meat doesn't have calories, and there's nothing you can tell me to change my mind," is nonsense, and if you won't let me tell you things that aren't nonsense, we are wasting our time.
-- Have appropriate patience. Scans take time to get read. Tests have to be scheduled. There are other patients. We can't spend three hours with you when someone's coding in the next room. We can't call twelve of your family members and tell them all the same thing. We can't track down your cat. We can't always give you an appointment at the most perfect time for you. We can't respond to your 3AM phone call about your gas pain. Understand that we're trying our best, but you need to accept the uncertainty in the system and have some flexibility.