We are on Day 4 of 31 Days of Surviving Chronic Illness; you can catch up on Day 1 here.
You’re sick, you go to the doctor, he gives you medication or treatment, you get better. And live happily ever after. For some patients and certain conditions it really does happen that way. If only it were only that simple for everyone.
If you have been seeing a doctor (or multiple doctors) for your illness and have experienced little to no improvement it’s time to take an unemotional, logical look at your situation.
In my opinion, there are only 2 solutions to your problem:
Your current physician or medical professional has the answer or is willing to keep moving forward until the answer is found.
You need to find a different doctor (or multiple doctors) who has the answer or is willing to keep moving forward until the answer is found.
Let’s have an honest talk about doctors and medical professionals in general. During my 12+ years of dealing with the medical community, struggling to find wellness, I’ve run across 3 types of doctors: The Good, The Bad and The Indifferent.
Let’s start with The Indifferent Doctor. The Indifferent Doctor may not be a bad doctor, in general. They may be great at diagnosing strep throat, pneumonia or high blood pressure. The Indifferent Doctor might have a lot of experience in general family medicine, but not much outside of that. The Indifferent Doctor may not have more than 5-8 minutes to spend with you because of over-booking. The Indifferent Doctor may be willing to run a few common tests but if they all come back within the normal range, they are not willing to explore further. It’s not that they are an unfeeling or uncompassionate, but their lack of knowledge or experience hinders them from moving forward with your care.
And sometimes it isn’t their fault at all. The Indifferent Doctor may have tests or treatments in mind but is hindered by the medical group he belongs to or a controlling Board of Directors and is not able to or willing to “fight the system” for you. Sometimes The Indifferent Doctor is as frustrated with the system as you are, and they have given up.
Now let’s talk about The Bad Doctor. Unfortunately, having an interest in healing people is not a requirement for becoming a physician. In fact, common sense is not required either. All you need to graduate from medical school and go on to become a doctor is the ability to go to school for a really long time. I DO have a ton of respect for the arduous process of becoming a physician; it’s a grueling, expensive process. Doctors are overworked and often in debt to the tune of $200,000 by the time they finally finish their residency and begin making a real paycheck.
But that does not give them the right to behave like they are gods. And that is exactly how The Bad Doctor behaves. The Bad Doctor will speak down to you, as if you couldn’t possibly be intelligent enough to understand what he/she is talking about. The Bad Doctor will act annoyed when you ask questions or challenge their opinion on a suggested treatment or prescription and will not order tests or treatments based on your research or requests.
The Bad Doctor will make it clear to you that you are wasting his time. It is not unusual for a Bad Doctor to yell at patients, slam doors or verbally insult the very people they have been hired to help. A Bad Doctor will not offer support, sympathy or hope. They won’t look you in the eye while speaking to you, shake your hand and otherwise show no humanity. Rather than admit they don’t know the answer or refer you to another physician who might, a Bad Doctor will tell you to “just learn to live with it.” Yes, I had a doctor tell me that. Bad Doctor!
Finally, let’s talk about The Good Doctor! The Good Doctors are not easy to find, but they are out there. The Good Doctor makes this whole journey through chronic illness bearable.
Because they recognize that your involvement is critical to achieve lasting health, The Good Doctor not only allows, but welcomes your questions. The Good Doctor will take as much time as necessary during your office visit and always finishes a visit with “Do you have any questions for me?”. When you leave an appointment with a Good Doctor you feel listened to.
The Good Doctor will listen to your opinions and although may disagree with you, will do it in such a way that you still feel respected. They will look you in the eye when speaking to you, shake your hand and make you feel like a person, not a check mark on their to-do-list.
They don’t pretend to know it all and The Good Doctor is not afraid to tell you when they have run out of ideas. They are always willing to send you to a specialist that might have more knowledge about your condition. The Good Doctor doesn’t give up on you.
You deserve the best treatment that can be found. Don’t waste your time and money on any physician who cannot or will not show an active interest in your journey back to wellness. Fire The Bad Doctor, come to grips with the limitations of The Indifferent Doctor and go find yourself a Good Doctor!