As we roll into 2006, many of us have begun to make our list of New Year's resolutions. We reflect back on all of the experiences we've had within 2005, be it good or bad, and begin to realize what changes are needed to be made in 2006.

I too, have begun to make my annual list of resolutions. One of them, is to learn how to better handle speaking with my primary care physician. Meaning, I would like to be able to "take control of my life" and express how I want him/her to best handle my medical care needs. We all get nervous when it comes to dealing with medical issues. But, this is the best time to grab your doctor's attention; and let him/her know what you need. Instead of being someone who sits in the examining room unprepared and waiting for the doctor to come in, you can be the one who initiates the conversation. It's your body, and you have the right to determine which direction you would like your health care to go.

In preparation for your next appointment, you may want to write down some questions and/or concerns that you have, and also to list all of your medications (over the counter and prescriptions) including the dosage you take/per day. This information will give you a starting point of which to initiate the conversation. Sometimes we see more than one doctor and your primary doctor may not realize that others have prescribed medications of which could be harmful to you. It is also always a good idea to be upfront and honest with your doctor so that he/she will be able to determine the best way to treat you.

In my next article, I will be continuing this topic by discussing how to best handle yourself when going to your doctor with your adult children. If you would like to continue discussing this issue or want to schedule an appointment with Cheryl L. Parcella, Elderly Outreach Worker, please call 891-2154, ext. 1052.