Thursday, February 08, 2018
Doctors Perspective
Preparing for your visit to see the doctor

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
When you go to visit someone, you usually make preparations. You think about what to wear, whether or not you should bring something and what time you should get there. It is no different when you prepare for a doctors visit. Unfortunately, preparation varies from patient to patient. Some patients are more prepared than others. The first thing to think about is what time to leave the house. You have an appointment time. You need to allow for traffic. Fortunately, traffic is an unusual occurrence in our area. You have to allow for check-in time. That is especially true if it is your first visit. Creating a new medical record can take some time. Checking insurance coverage can take some time. I usually try to arrive 15 minutes early for my appointments. If you are late, then every patient after you will be at least that late being seen. For that reason, you really need to show up early if you have one of the first appointments of the morning or afternoon. I am always ready to see my first patient on time. However, they are not always there in time to see me. The second thing has to do with appearance. While a physicians visit calls for casual clothing, there needs to be some propriety in dress. There is no place for clothing with foul language on it or clothing that makes an obvious political statement. That type of clothing has its time and place. The time and place is not the doctors office. A second part of appearance has to do with showering before the visit. The physical exam requires the physician to be in your personal space. There is not a need for body odor to make that space unpalatable. We have air freshener in our office and there are times when we need to use it after a patient has left. Along those same lines, try to avoid that last cigarette before you enter the office. The smell clings to clothing and can sometimes be significant enough to be physically upsetting. I had a patient recently that had about 1/8 of dirt under every fingernail. She clearly had not bathed. When I asked her if she had showered the night before, she proudly told me No. So I advised her to work both on her shower and her fingernails that evening. There is also the opposite extreme. Perfumes and colognes can be sickening when overused. That is especially true with the closeness of a physical exam. Some people brush their teeth before they go to the dentist. It is good idea to do that for a doctor visit as well. A heavy meal of garlic and onions the night before a visit might not be the best idea either. Just like you plan your visit to see friends or family, you need to think about planning the visit to see your doctor. That will make the visit far more productive for both of you.

Alzheimers programs offered The Caregiver Resource Center at the Modern Maturity Center located at 1121 Forrest Ave., Dover, is offering a series of educational programs presented by Jamie Magee, coordinator for the Alzheimers Association. The following free programs are being offered: Wednesday, March 7, 1011:30 a.m. - Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimers The Basics. Register by March 2. Wednesday, April 11, 10-11:30 a.m. - Effective Communication Strategies. Register by April 6. Wednesday, May 16, 1011:30 a.m. - Understanding and Responding to Dementia Related Behaviors. Register by May 11. To register, call 800-272-3900 or email Sharon Jarnette at

Childbirth classes offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts childbirth classes on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Ground Floor Conference Room. The class will meet for five weeks four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week will be a breastfeeding class. The following sessions will be held in 2018: Feb. 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22; March 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26; May 16, 24, 31, June 7, 14; July 5, 12, 19, 26, Aug. 2; Aug. 30, Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1 *Nov. 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4, 11 (*Tuesdays) The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticokes Mother & Baby Care Center. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The refresher class covers breathing techniques, signs, symptoms, and stages of labor, birthing options, and a tour of Nanticokes Mother & Baby Care Center. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Pre-registration is required for either class. To register or for more information, contact Nanticokes Maternal Child Health Clinical Educator at 629-6611, ext. 2540. To learn more about womens health services provided by Nanticoke, visit

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center. This support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families, friends, and caregivers. This free support group provides education, community resources, and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. Meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions for caregivers and stroke survivors to discuss concerns, providing support and networking. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 629-6224. To learn more about Nanticokes stroke program, visit

Statewide Walk for Autism is April 14 Autism Delaware has announced that the statewide Walk for Autism starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 14, at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. The Wilmington walk takes place April 21 in Fox Point State Park. The event coordinators hope to attract 3,000 walkers and to raise $250,000 for Autism Delawares programs and services. A celebration as well as a fundraiser, Autism Delawares Walk for Autism also runs a fun zone where children can enjoy hands-on crafts. And next door to the fun zone, the newest and latest in products and services are on display especially for individuals and families affected by autism. Bring a picnic lunch or purchase food from food trucks that will be open for business. For more information, to register, or to sponsor the Walk for Autism, visit To volunteer, call 302-224-6020, or send an email to