Should couples attend medical appointments together?

Apparently in many states, including Georgia, blood tests are no longer required before you get married. (Based on what I found online, it looks like they were eliminated in Georgia in 2003.) A columnist for The Huffington Post marriage section argues that not only should couples be required to have blood tests before they get married, they should also attend each other’s doctors appointments throughout their lives together.

From The Huffington Post:

“You and your fiancé should educate yourselves about each other’s health and start going to the doctor together when you decide to get married. It doesn’t have to be weird — he can leave the room before a pelvic exam and she can go read a magazine in the waiting room when it’s time for him to bend over and cough. You don’t have to step onto the scale in front of him EVER if you don’t want to. If one of you is willing to switch doctors, I highly recommend doing so. It makes life easier when you can schedule bi-annual or annual appointments together (dentist, primary care physicals, eye doctor, etc.). But even if you don’t have the same doctor, what’s important is that you attend appointments together. Start with a full physical and participate as a couple in the consultation afterward. There are a lot of things you don’t know about your fiancé that you’re going to learn when you do this. For example, you may find out that they’re watching your fiancé carefully for a specific ailment as he or she ages because there is a big history of it in their family. Or you might find out that your fiancé is allergic to sulfa drugs and you never knew it because it hasn’t come up and your fiancé hasn’t been seriously ill in the time you’ve been together. It’s really important to know this stuff. If you are in an accident, who do you think they call to get the medical history? You need to know the exact details and you need to understand what’s what.”

“I also advocate attending most medical appointments together because, as we age, we start to want to hide some of the things that are happening to us from the people we love. We all know about how Grandpa wouldn’t acknowledge his hearing loss, making holiday dinners an interesting experience akin to playing the childhood game “broken telephone.” My husband still claims that he’s got reading glasses now only because his arms have shrunk. Serious health issues aren’t that different — people don’t like to acknowledge them to themselves or anyone else. But one way to keep healthier and to take the best care of yourself is to approach your health as a team. If one of you really needs to be eating a special diet, the other person is likely to be more sympathetic and supportive if they understand the ramifications of not following that specific diet. More than one of my girlfriends have gone off the pill and chosen alternate contraception when their fiancés found out what it could do to them (as the commercials say “certain women should not take the pill”).”

“There are a lot of things you have to learn to approach as a couple — healthcare, finances, long-term planning — but you can tackle them one at a time. In order to be able to tackle them, you need to be healthy. So that’s the first priority for you as a couple.”

My mom does say all the time that she needs to go with my father to the ear and eye doctors because she says he only hears from the doctors what he wants to.

I think most often spouses accompany each other to the doctor when they think something is really wrong or when they’re having a baby.

So what do you think? Have you ever attended a doctor’s appointment with a spouse? Would you like to go together for basic check ups? Do you think it would be helpful to learn more about their basic health and not just go when you think they may have cancer? Should blood tests be required again before marriage?

64 comments Add your comment

Jeff

March 8th, 2012
5:42 am

I think I got it just fine by myself. I haven’t had a woman go to the doctor with me since I gaduatd from the pediatrician to the big boy doctor.

And I don’t want to go watch her get a pap either.

R

March 8th, 2012
6:11 am

Are they going to start providing babysitting services too? I do not want going to the gynecologist to become a family affair, thank you very much.

K's Mom

March 8th, 2012
6:42 am

What did blood tests screen for back in the day? I never have known what that was all about.

The hubs has seen far more under flourescent lighting than I am comfortable with during my pregnancies…he still loves me and finds me attractive, but after my 2nd delivery I can get my checkups on my own. I am not really too interested in going with him either. He gives me an honest rundown. As we age that all may change, but right now we can handle it all on my own.

Gtmom

March 8th, 2012
6:48 am

Ha.. Who in the world has time???? We are very busy people. Adding your spouse’s doctor visit to your own activities is crazy! When we are retired yes! Right now, NO!
We even have to divide our children’s dr visits. I have never even met my child’s/husband’s dentist!

motherjanegoose

March 8th, 2012
7:07 am

@ GTmom…I am with you on the time factor. Two people working, in two opposite directions, is difficult to schedule. If you lived in a small town and the doctor’s office was 5 miles away …then maybe. Most of our doctors are at least a 20 minute drive from our house…in good traffic and our jobs may be 1 hour away. not in the same direction. The only doctor my husband went to with me, was the OB GYN and that was just a few times. I do see being informed as something that could be important, especially as we get older.

DB

March 8th, 2012
7:36 am

@K: The blood tests were for syphilis, and, in some states in the 1980’s/90’s, it also included HIV. Sort of a “full disclosure” sort of thing.

Never felt the need to attend doctor’s appointments, or wanted him there during mine.

Augusta

March 8th, 2012
8:09 am

I ususally go with Hubs, and I go to my Internist alone. If it’s an like eye doctor appt, we usually go together since it’s normally on a Saturday and we can go together.

I don’t go to dentist appts with him.

But I think it’s probably a good idea a spouse trys to go. If something were to happen or you get bad news, you’d like some support there with you.

I remember going to a doctor’s appointment with my Mom, for her. Looking back, I’m so glad I was there, as she had been diagnosed with uterine cancer. I was about 16 at the time, and I remember her just falling apart in the elevator after we had received the news. I’m glad I was there with her, she needed me right there and then. I could NOT imagine her receiving that news by herself. My dad was travelling at the time, so he couldn’t go with her. All turned out well. She has a hysterectomy and recovered just fine!!!! Next month, she will be turning 82 and she’s an incredibly strong woman. Still takes aerobics, plays bridge, etc. It’s very important to keep up with our health. She’s my role model.

Big Mama

March 8th, 2012
8:12 am

Good lord, I share a house with the man! I don’t want him poking around my Dr. appts too! Just because you are married doesn’t mean you have to share every aspect of your life with your spouse. Everyone deserves some privacy.

catlady

March 8th, 2012
8:27 am

DB, are you sure about the HIV testing? I always thought is was just syphlis.I don’t think they have ever been able to require HIV testing!

Now that I am older, I occasionally have one of my children go with me to the doctor, especially when there has been a reaction to medication. My older daughter is especially good at looking over her glasses (she puts them on just for this) and admonishing or speaking sternly to the doctor.

If I were a married person, nearing 60, I would go with my spouse and he with me.

homeschooler

March 8th, 2012
8:29 am

No, we have never done this. He only came to the OB appts when I had the Ultrasound. Come to think of it, that was only on the first child. On the second, I chose not to learn the sex so I told him not to worry about coming and I’d show him the video. He’s self employed. No work, no money to feed the kids, so, no, I’ll happily go alone.
Having said that, I think if we were older I might go with him. Especially if there was some sort of problem. I feel like he won’t tell me everything or won’t communicate enough with me what the doctor said or ask the doctor all the questions I might ask. I’m just thinkin about circumstances where there is some sort of problem. I think a lot of older couples go to the dr. together. I know my in-laws do.
@Augusta..I could not have handled that at 16. I’d have been falling apart and my mom would have been holding me up. :-) Still terrified of losing my mom and I’m 40. So glad everything turned out okay.

Augusta

March 8th, 2012
8:32 am

Thank you Homeschooler. It was probably the scariest thing I have ever gone though and it made me grow up real fast!!!!. Our parents are rocks, and when one gets hurt, it’s very tough to handle. We have a very supportive family.

RJ

March 8th, 2012
8:44 am

I went with him a couple of years ago when he was really ill. I forced him to get himself checked out and went to the appointments to learn what the problem was. Other than that, he’s on his own. He went to one ultrasound with me with the new baby. I can handle it myself.

justmy2cents

March 8th, 2012
9:06 am

All 4 of us go to eye dr. and dentist appts together. It is just easier to schedule one 2 hour block of time vs 4 individual and trying to remember the dates. Kid check ups get scheduled together for the same reason. Our check ups, when we bother, are scheduled separately. We rarely go to the dr. I think my husband and I have been maybe 3-4 times total in the last 7 years.

Figment

March 8th, 2012
9:10 am

No thanks. I am perfectly able to communicate with my man if there is something he needs to know. Same goes for him, if I need to know he’ll tell me.

Techmom

March 8th, 2012
9:15 am

I can see going for certain things but routine appointments? No way. No time. The only time we’ve gone with each other is if we were having some kind of procedure and couldn’t drive after that. My husband had a endoscopy & colonoscopy a few months ago and both times I dropped him off and went across the street to McDonald’s to work (I told the doctor’s office to get WiFi if they wanted people to sit there waiting but otherwise, I’d be across the street working). I did not go with him to the follow up appts which is good because the doctor was so busy for the first follow up that my husband waited an hour and left. If it was that important or something was wrong, they would have called him to come back in immediately.

My son is 16 and is being treated at a dermatologist for plantar’s warts on his feet which requires going every other week for a several visits. I haven’t even gone to the last 2 appointments with him! I figure it’s better for him to figure out how to check himself in, talk to the doctor, pay his copay, get his receipt and school note now before he goes off to college and has never experienced going to the doctor by himself.

Again, as someone else said, if you know your spouse has a chronic illness or as you are older and have the time, go for it. But between two full time jobs, a kid and lots of activities, neither of us have the time to deal with the other’s appointments.

Me

March 8th, 2012
9:18 am

Interesting –Yet again I am in the minority or so it appears. My wife and I attend each other’s doctor appointments together and always have. I’m not the least bit concerned as to whether we “should” but we do and will continue to do so. As far as scheduling, we simply take time off work to be with the other. Most of you obviously feel different, which is fine, but I simply don’t understand that mindset.

Augusta

March 8th, 2012
9:22 am

I think its sad that people don’t have/make the time to take care of themselves. I have so many friends who are falling apart, a few co-workers too. My cousin in law passed away of colon cancer at the tender age of 53. He had not been to a doctor in 30 years. Had he been getting regular check ups, they could have helped him, but they found it too late, Stage 4 Colon cancer. He went in for an appointment, and they sent him home, said there was nothing they could do for him. He was dead 5 weeks later. We buried him on Valentines day 3 years ago. IT COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED.

Take the time to take care of yourself and the ones you love. Our health is so very important, especially when we have children.

FCM

March 8th, 2012
9:35 am

According to the legal resource Free Advice, blood tests were intended to determine if one or both of the marrying couple had a disease that may be passed on to their children. many of the state blood test laws came about during the 1930s, before penicillin and antibiotics. At the time, syphilis was considered a significant public health hazard. So a “blood test” is a way to check for sexually transmitted diseases, most often syphilis. However, the tests can also be used to check for rubella and sickle-cell anemia. The Mississippi State Department of Health openly acknowledges this, while also stating that they do not test for HIV or any other STDs unless the patient chooses.

http://ask.yahoo.com/20040825.html

He only attended 3 doctor appts…the 2 where we learned the gender of the unborn child and 1 for a miscarriage.

My Mom takes Dad to the doctor, but that has more to do with him not being able to drive due to all the surgeries he has needed lately.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 8th, 2012
9:36 am

We are all super sick — I am heading to the doctor’s this morning — and when I say doctors I mean the Walgreen’s Take Care Clinic because I haven’t found a doctor here for me. I visited the pediatrician’s office twice yesterday with two different kids — and I took two in on Monday too! I may write more on this later — it is a crazy story!! So just know we’re feeling awful over here!!

DB

March 8th, 2012
9:41 am

@catlady: The HIV test wasn’t mandatory, but it was certainly pushed heavily as an optional test in the 80s and 90’s when people went to get their blood test done — a lot of people were intimidated into getting one “just to be on the safe side.” But you’re right, it wasn’t required.

Georgia stopped in 2003, and right now, Montana and DC are the only areas that require a blood test. (And in Montana, only the females are tested!) In New York, those who identify themselves as African-American are required to obtain a sickle-cell screening test.

Augusta

March 8th, 2012
9:50 am

Hope everyone feels better Theresa!

Devil's Advocate

March 8th, 2012
9:53 am

Do people really lack this much common sense? If you’re going for a checkup, physical, or to find out if you have cold, flu, allergies, or something else then the spouse doesn’t need to go. If you’re having more serious problems that are lingering, ongoing, or could lead to surgery or some serious treatment options then likely your spouse will be providing some level of care for you at home so it would be smart for them to hear from the doctors what’s going on. Sheesh.

homeschooler

March 8th, 2012
9:57 am

@ Augusta, I think it’s sad that people don’t take care of themselves either. But I think that more in terms of eating healthy and exercising. (I’m guilty of this as well). But I don’t think going to the doctor has anything to do with it. No one in my family gets yearly check ups. We go if there is a problem. By the time my kids were 3 yrs old I got tired of taking them just to have their weight and height checked and to have the dr. ask me if I had guns in my home and if my car seat was installed properly. I take them if they need shots or if they are sick. (they have each been to the dr about 3 times in the past 5 yrs.). I am trying to be better about making sure I have my yearly gyn appt and I have gotten regular mammograms because I do believe strongly in those being preventative, but I never see my family doctor. Once my husband is at whatever age they recommend screenings for prostate/colon cancer etc.. I will make sure that is done but my experience with regular drs appts or if you go for something minor is that they don’t do much of anything. We can usually handle things on our own. My insurance company makes a fortune off of my family.

JOD

March 8th, 2012
10:00 am

Maybe when we’re retired and have time to piddle away (doubt it, though!). Of course, Hubs doesn’t really go to the doctor, so it would just be him missing work to come to my appointments. I’m perfectly capable of talking to him about any findings, and if he went to the doctor, he is capable of doing the same.

I wish he would go in for annual check ups, but talking to him about it hasn’t done any good. I will say my best friend went in with a bad chest cold, had a chest x-ray, and the doctor found a mass next to her heart. She just had open heart surgery to remove it and now has to wait for biopsy results to know if she needs chemo/radiation therapy. All from a cold…

@Augusta – Glad to hear your mom is still sprightly and healthy!

@TWG – Get well soon!

Soccer Milf

March 8th, 2012
10:14 am

It depends on the sickness. If its a cold then maybe but if it is crabs….absolutely not!

BHS86

March 8th, 2012
10:20 am

The only time my husband and I go to the doctor together is if we’re having something done where we are not suuposed to drive ourselves home. For routine appointments, we go alone. There’s no sense in BOTH of us taking time off work.

Augusta

March 8th, 2012
10:40 am

I go to my doctor twice a year. I’m on blood pressure medicine. I can get my pills, then get one refill, then I have to go back to see her. My pills are for 90 days each. I also get a physical yearly.

Another friend of mine had a heart attack at 48, which prompted me to get a physical. For 6 months the doctor couldn’t figure out why my calcium levels were elevated. Finally we found it was Hyperparathyrodism. I had to have two surgeries to correct it, and now I’m doing just fine. Had I not gone for that physical, I would have no idea about my calcium, which could have evenutally lead to kidney problems/failure, since I had so much calcium, and my bones weren’t absorbing it. That’s why I feel it is SO important to get a physical at least once a year. I have another friend who smokes and has since she was about 13 years old. She won’t go to a doctor, and she has no insurance, her husband won’t let her spend they money. He doesn’t go to the doctor either. They don’t eat healthy either nor do either of them get any exercise, other than yard work…..I will probably bury both of them too…….

motherjanegoose

March 8th, 2012
11:04 am

@ Augusta…sorry for your dilemma and glad that it turned out o.k.
I admire people who have parents as role models.
@TWG…sorry you are sick! I have a head cold now and feel awful but this is the first time I have been sick this school year, so I am considering myself lucky!
After reading all of this, I am scheduling the Doctor’s appts. I need. I am typically good about it but have been a bit lax this year…so I will get it done today. I have not been in the Doctor’s office in about a year. My husband is in several times each year with several doctors. He had bronchitus ( sp?) so bad that his boss made a co worker take him to the Doctor. He could not breathe at work and his chest really hurt. The Doctor took x-rays and asked him if he smoked….um no. He did live in a smoke filled house the entire time he grew up. His lungs are damaged and now suspect to any type of bronchial irritation! Stinks for him!

jarvis

March 8th, 2012
11:31 am

F-no! Stupid idea.
Who can coordinate that crap?

Regarding blood tests...

March 8th, 2012
11:33 am

…here in the South not only were they checking for STD’s they were also interested in making sure you were not marrying your sister or first cousin – but, since GA, AL, and MS are still part of the U.S. they finally decided “to heck with trying to stop them” so they discontinued the blood test requirement before getting a marriage license…

jarvis

March 8th, 2012
11:34 am

I did go to every OB-GYN appointment, and would go to anything requiring a driver.

jmb

March 8th, 2012
11:36 am

Back in 1980 they told me the blood testing was for RH negative blood. If both have it, it can carry downs to the child. On topic, I always go with my husband. I want to make sure he tells the doctor all the little things he whines about to me only so that the issue is addressed and he can’t whine anymore after. Like a lot of others, we only go maybe once a year at most and he doesn’t go with me unless I’m just too sick to drive.

motherjanegoose

March 8th, 2012
11:50 am

@jmb..wow…interesting about the RH factor. I am O negative. I have now checked in with 2 Doctors and 2 more to go…just needed a kick in the pants haha!

KoolAid House

March 8th, 2012
11:51 am

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Thank you much. {{I hear sirens in the distance, must be the blog police….}}

I went with my wife...

March 8th, 2012
12:03 pm

…one time to the OB, when they did amnio before the birth of out second child – it was just moral support.

About 2 years ago she went with me when I had to have a cardiac cath – whe completed I developed a hematoma at the puncture site in my femoral artery next to my groin. I had been walking around post procedure as you are supposed to do while waiting to be released. All I had on was the “gown” -when I reported the hematoma to the nurse – my wife was there – the nurse got her face right down next to my scrotum to view the hematoma, which was quite large – of course, other “parts” were quite small. Naturally, she had to call two other nurses over to “observe” the situation – which situation, I am not sure, but I swear I heard her telling the other nurses “the white dude sure is little and, it ain’t even that cold in here nor is he even that old”..,.

motherjanegoose

March 8th, 2012
12:23 pm

@ I went…and kat complained about my earlier post on the razor blog, in her post at 8:27 last night?
REALLY?

Misty

March 8th, 2012
12:27 pm

We go together simply because it’s easier for the non-patient to remember everything the doctor says, especially if the patient might have something other than the flu or a check-up.
If a couple reaches the fiance stage and you don’t know if your significant other is allergic to something then you’re in the wrong place. We made it clear to each other by date 3 or 4 simply because I’m allergic to medication.

Misty

March 8th, 2012
12:27 pm

* a medication…

JOD

March 8th, 2012
12:35 pm

@jmb – Agree, very interesting on the Rh factor. I know they test for that now as part of the initial OB bloodwork. I am Rh- and Hubs is Rh+, so I have to get the 2 RhoGam shots (something like 20 weeks and right after birth) and baby gets shot, too, in case our blood mixes during birth. Rh- blood attacks Rh+ blood.

Warrior Woman

March 8th, 2012
1:16 pm

Absurd, unless it is a “big deal” appointment. We’re adults, and perfectly capable of talking to the doctor without assistance.

Soccer Milf

March 8th, 2012
1:20 pm

My husband likes to go to the OBGYN with me. The doctor is a female and he says its important that he lend me support while this lady examines me.

Denise

March 8th, 2012
1:46 pm

I always thought the blood test before marriage was to determine if you’re related. But then again, I’m from Louisiana and Mississippi. :-)

As for getting tests when you are of “recommended” age…my father found out he had prostate cancer 2 years prior to the recommended testing age. He had his PSA level tested for the “why not” since he was getting blood work anyway and that is how it’s found. The digital test did not find an enlarged prostate but his POS level was elevated to cancer level. Just a word of caution about waiting…

KoolAid House

March 8th, 2012
2:15 pm

@Soccer Milf – so I see you’ve found your way over to this blog. You are crazy and a isht starter. Please vacate the premises because all you do is lie.

Soccer Milf

March 8th, 2012
2:20 pm

@KoolAid House….who are you? THis blog is for parenting and mom issues. If you want to atteack someone maye you shoudl go to the political libtard blogs where attacks can only be done by the left.

jmb

March 8th, 2012
2:23 pm

JOD – wow, I guess it really is still a big deal. That was the only reason I was told they gave you both blood testing before marriage. Never heard about the relation factor lol. Sorry you and baby have to go thru all that.

Augusta

March 8th, 2012
2:24 pm

@KoolAidehouse – we like Soccer Milf. She’s been a regular on her for quite a while……BACK OFF!

Tina

March 8th, 2012
2:25 pm

Kook aid – please take soccer milf back with you when you leave. The idot post are irritating.

Soccer Milf

March 8th, 2012
2:28 pm

Sorry for all those jealous of my lifestyle and my beutiful boys Dylan and Carter. Haters gonna hate.

JOD

March 8th, 2012
3:18 pm

@jmb – Thanks. Funny how such a little thing like the + or – with your blood type turns into something complicated!

Spelling Police

March 8th, 2012
3:20 pm

I’m taking most of you to jail right now.