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The Joan Lunden Interview (Page 3 of 3)

An Interview with Joan Lunden


Gary Barg: What would be the one most important piece of advice you’d like to share with family caregivers?

Joan Lunden: Do not waste those five minutes. It’s very easy, when the doctor says, “So how are you doing?” to go off talking about “Oh, my oldest daughter just got married and blah, blah, blah.” You have got to stay on task, stay focused, and make the most of those few minutes that you have with that doctor. And listen; repeat back. Don’t just take a number from them. Ask, “What does that mean? So, is that good? Is that bad? How far off is it? What can I do to get back on track?” And that really is the essence. And make sure you go in with information. When that doctor says, “How are you?” he wants to hear, “I just found out from my mother that my grandfather had cardiovascular disease.” That’s what he wants to hear. He wants to know that “I’ve gained 15 pounds, but I am still exercising.” You’ve got to give him clues. He can’t just look at you and miraculously figure out what’s wrong with you. You know part of it is the information you come in with and part of it is what he can ascertain.. And if the doctor isn’t taking your blood pressure, isn’t taking your blood and isn’t finding out what your cholesterol level is, you ask for those things. You know you have to make sure that you are finding out everything that you need to know in order to stay on course to being as healthy as you can be.


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