Originally Posted by mamawduck
i was wondering if anyone could .... tell me the basics of what to expect on my first visit.
This is a common question, and Leesa's answer was spot-on. All I would add is that there may be a lot going on in a stressful situation, and it often helps to have someone (family/friend) with you to listen, take notes, or ask questions.
It may be moot at this point, but since it is
a common question and hence likely to come up again, and in a variety of situations with different specialists (pain management, physiatry, orthopedic, rheumatology, etc.), what I've always found useful is to
Google: first visit ______
(fill in specialist - in this case, neurosurgeon
There are always a fair number of articles (mostly in agreement) that, in addition to helping prepare for that first visit (what to bring, questions to ask, what to expect will happen, etc.) can really help put one's mind at ease/rest about that first-time anxiety
I always try to read a minimum of three such articles - sometimes more - depending on how well they seem to be written, who's written them, and how much they agree with each other, to get a well-rounded idea (so I'm as prepared as I can be), and taking notes as I read. Let's say... enough articles that I'm feeling comfortable/confident about it.
Then I start researching & writing up my questions & concerns (what I want to be sure to mention) while the information is still fresh. I'll leave time before my appointment to review this information and add/edit as necessary.
Another common occurence is that people come (back) here after their first visit because in the stress of the situation, they were nodding their heads like a bobblehead, but they really can't remember what the doctor said, or didn't understand it. That's OK. It happens.
It just points out the importance of bringing someone with you and taking notes.
At this time, it's good to remember that doctors only hear about 25% of what patients say
(because they're constantly thinking about all their training & experience in the effort of diagnosing and figuring out what to do next) and patients only hear about 50% of what doctors say
(due to aforementioned anxiety/stress). It's up to us (patients) to make sure the doctor hears/understands our concerns and answers our questions adequately.