I love my doctor.
When you have a chronic condition you need to visit the doctor regularly, so it’s really necessary for you to like your doctor. You need to look forward to seeing your doctor in almost the same way you look forward to meeting a friend for coffee, a friend you don’t get to see very often.
Unfortunately, I hear about doctors who aren’t as great as mine is, and when I hear about some of their attitudes and manners, I cringe. Years ago, when my wonderful family practitioner moved away, I had to find a new doctor. After she left, I needed to get medical treatment on two occasions. Each time I visited a different doctor, and each time I vowed, never again, not that doctor.
The condescending medical professional
The first doctor was actually a physician’s assistant, but since the doctor in the practice was often unavailable chances were good that I’d see the PA often in the future. I had a weird rash all over my back and abdomen, and as I had young children I was concerned I’d pass it on to them. The PA was brusque, condescending, and told me that what I had was not at all important or contagious. I left the office feeling foolish that I had wasted his time and my own. Perhaps he meant to be reassuring, but he was not.
The uncaring doctor
The second doctor I saw for a minor injury. He was professional and competent in the examination. He also was emotionally removed and showed not an ounce of compassion or empathy for me. I tried to get a two-way conversation going about exercise in general and to establish some kind of rapport with him, but my attempts fell flat. I knew I’d never be back in his office.
The next doctor I saw is who I currently see. I knew from the first visit that he was ‘the One.’ People tell you all the time that you need to ‘trust your gut’ and to follow your intuition. That’s just as important with doctors as it is with potential mates. Going to the wrong doctor becomes a chore, and you may even begin to put off going when you really need to see him or her. So I’ve compiled a list of traits you should see in your doctor. As we age it’s more important than ever to have a great doctor.
The larger culture tells us that once you’re over 50 you’ll have a host of medical problems that are just a part of getting older.
You need a doctor who is on your side, who congratulates you on your wins and doesn’t put you in the ‘Older Women’ box. Here are 5 signs you’ve got a great doctor. If you don’t, start looking for one!
1. Your doctor listens to you. He has time for your questions and is thoughtful in his answers.
My doctor and I have a lively back and forth conversation during each visit. He asks me questions, he types my responses in the computer and listens to everything I have to say or ask. I don’t waste his time or mine on chit chat. We’re dealing with my health, so that’s what we discuss, but the conversation is two-way, not just him talking to me.
2. Your doctor explains test or lab results to you.
At each visit my doctor goes through the lab report, circles numbers and writes notes in areas we’re targeting. I come home with a report marked with circles around numbers on kidney functioning (perfect!), thyroid functioning (excellent!) and red blood cell count (no anemia!), among others. He goes through the entire report with me – quickly, certainly, but not so quickly that I don’t understand it – and answers any questions I have. When I injured my foot and had to see him several times over a couple of months, he was empathetic and we discussed several possible issues and what treatment options might be necessary for each.
3. She’s positive and accepting of you or your conditions.
The overall tone of my doctor visits is positive and he always seems happy to see me. He congratulates me on what I’m doing right and doesn’t criticize me for not doing better. When my blood sugar levels aren’t so great, he merely points them out and we discuss how I might modify my diet or exercise regimen to get them to a level more in line with where I want to be, to be my healthiest self. He also makes a point of congratulating me on how well I look (unless I’m sick!) and how young I am. And not in that icky sweet, ‘you’re so young, dear’ kind of way. I feel young and vibrant as well as feeling mature, and he recognizes and celebrates it with me.
4. She knows you and is well acquainted with your medical history.
At the beginning of each visit my doctor reviews my medical history with me, and makes changes if something was entered incorrectly during a previous visit. (His office switched software several months ago, and the transfer of information was supposed to be seamless, but isn’t always, of course.) When he prescribes a medication or treatment I never have to wonder whether he really is familiar with my medical history or whether he remembers which patient I am.
5. You and your doctor are partners in your health.
He or she isn’t ‘the expert’ telling you what to do. You’re partners in that he knows medicine and you know your body. You also share medical philosophies. I wouldn’t want to see a doctor whose first response to a medical complaint is to prescribe a pill.
Over the years my doctor and I have talked often about my sleep issues and strategies I’ve tried to get a full night’s sleep. With help from my gynecologist for menopausal symptoms interfering with sleep, I have figured out how I can get the best sleep possible. When I mentioned that I’m now using essential oils at bedtime for sleep, my doctor praised them as a great means to better sleep.
How does your doctor stack up?
Does he or she have all 5 signs?
If they don’t, it might be time to start looking for someone else before you get sick.
What’s your doctor experience? Have you found ‘the One?’
Respond to this email or comment below and let me know!
Be well, friends, and
See you next time!