Saturday, May 21, 2011

Are you happy with your doctor? What qualities make up a "good dr" in your opinion??

It's so true that if one thing is out of whack in your body, it can throw off all your  healthy systems from functioning properly.  When we are diagnosed with a condition, any condition, we need to look into if/how the illness might effect other parts of our body.  So, what i'm saying is we basically need to treat the whole body rather than just that specific condition/issue at hand, because that "issue" may have had a negative effect on some other area of the body.  So many medical issues slip through the cracks because of carelessness? Laziness? I really don't know how & why this happens ... Something as simple as neglecting to order a blood panel for a patient to rule out any possible deficiencies for instance, could greatly impact ones health and negatively impact ones quality of life, if there is some other problem that is not identified.  
I think that it's our PCP's responsibility to know which tests are periodically necessary to ensure good health for their patient.  I know that as a Crohn's Disease sufferer, my iron levels need to be monitored every few months to be sure that I'm not anemic.  The 1st time I experienced anemia, and by the time my doctor pointed out that I needed some red blood cells........ & PRONTO, was when my levels were so off and I was terribly sick.  Funny thing though, is that all along in the blood panels that my doctor ordered, it shows a gradual drop in my hemoglobin level, red blood cell level that should have been  addressed and treated.  I didn't have to get as sick as I did if my dr. would have noticed the slow decline in specific areas on my blood work report.  
To give you a little glimpse of what it's like to be severely anemic..... Basically, I could hardly make it up a flight of stairs without getting winded because I lacked that much oxygen in my blood.  My heart had to pump so much harder to get the required amount of oxygen to my brain because I had so few red blood cells.  I think about it now and wonder how in the world I never passed out.  I remember how exhausted I felt ALL the time and the numerous hours of sleep that I required, to only wake up and feel as though I hadn't slept at all.  I now know what anemia feels like and can identify it before it gets to a critical point.  
This experience along with many other little slips in the cracks that I have experienced over the years with doctors i've seen, definitely has contributed to my proactive mind set and the need to do "homework" about my disease.  In other words, I probably know more than the doctor does about my condition and treatment options available. Trust no one with your body, health and life.  In the end, we are the ones truly responsible for the care that we receive.  
Ask questions, research the medicine your doctor has prescribed for you, take note of the times you have called your doctor and they never returned your call. How are you treated by the nursing staff- especially over the phone, Does the doctor have time for your appointment or do you feel rushed and like just a number?  How do you feel when you walk out of an appointment with your doctor?... did you feel confident that the doc has your best interest in mind and that he heard your concerns.... or did he brush off your issue and fail to give you clarity? did he answer the question you asked or did you never ask that question because you forget the questions you wanted to ask all together? ......... *tip*  Make a list and don't forget to bring it to your next appointment. Have a notebook for just your medical symptoms, progress, & ???'s.  Everytime a question pops in your mind, write it down.  Trust me, you wont remember them all if you don't make a note of them.
 I'm all about being involved in the decisions regarding my treatment plan and if I have my knowledge, by researching, and I don't feel at ease with that particular treatment for whatever reason it may be, I have no hesitations with refusing it.  Over the years i've become bolder and express my concerns openly.  Plus, It's my right as a patient to accept or deny the doctors' recommendations.  If you're anything like me and do refuse or question the treatment the doc suggested or just don't go with the flow like they want (you dont just lay back & let them do whatever they want with you) you will most likely be labeled as "difficult", "hard to manage", "non-compliant", ect... You get my point.   That's fine, let them call you whatever they want.  At least you will have peace of mind when you walk out of that building, knowing that the overall decision you made, is the right decison for you.
Be proactive and if you find that you are not satisfied with the care your doctor provides, move on and find a doctor that will fulfill your expectations of a "good doctor". They are a dime a dozen, but if you search, you will eventually find.  
Don't settle for the mediocre.. You deserve more!

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