Questionnaires are dry and clinical even when the subject matter is anything but impersonal. Use a form or questionnaire as the jumping off point. Answer the questions with essential truths—the metaphorical truth—rather than a list of symptoms. Let the family tree bear fruit. Show the worms and the rot and the sweetness. Or take an insurance form, as dry as a cracker in the desert, and make it bloom. If you need a sample questionnaire, refer to this form, which includes general medical questions along with a checklist of occupational and environmental exposures plus questions specific to the asbestos program. Good times.
For inspiration and/or intimidation, see Oliver De La Paz’s powerful answers to an autism screening questionnaire for his son in the poem “Autism Screening Questionnaire—Speech and Language Delay” on the Poetry Foundation’s site. Listen to the poet read his poem. So beautiful.
Or be dazzled by Nicole Sealey’s “Medical History” published at The Account. How she takes standard medical questions and transforms them into a wonder—I am awed.