Thursday, September 8, 2011

My View On Doctors

I find the doctor-patient relationship quite funny. Patients hate going to the doctor's office, and some are afraid to disclose all information for fear of judgement. It took me 20 years to find a doctor I can work with.

As a CFer I deal with doctors way more than I would ever want to. Over the past 30 years I have developed my own theories on doctors and how to deal with them.

Doctors are not God nor are they one step down from him. Some may think that they are, but they aren't so don't let them make you think otherwise. They are human. Intelligent humans who went to school far longer than most people would want to.

They went to school so that they can give you the best possible advice. That's what a doctor basically is. He's an adviser. You come in and list out your symptoms and the doctor gives you advice on what to do about it. You can follow his advice, seek a second opinion, or ignore it. You are not required to do whatever the doctor advises you to do.

You don't have to listen to him speak that medical speech that might as well be Greek with how much meaning it posses to you. You can and should stop the doctor, make him speak in a manner that you understand, and do not let him leave until you fully understand what he is saying. You don't nod your head, pretending to understand what he says.

Make sure you know the side effects of any procedure or medication the doctor prescribes. Keep in mind you also can refuse any medication or procedure. They can't force you to take or do anything. Your doctor is supposed to give you the best possible advice so you can make an informed decision. He knows the decision is ultimately yours. He can't bully you into anything, so don't let him.

When at the doctor's office make sure to voice any and all concerns. Don't pay attention to him acting like your wasting he's precious time. Doctor's are paid to be there. They are paid to listen to you. And a concern that may seem trivial, can be a symptom of something far worse. Doctors rely on the combination of several clues (symptoms) to make a proper diagnosis. If you withhold a clue, he may give the wrong diagnosis. The wrong diagnosis does no good for you.

This what I have learned through the years. When it comes to doctors you have to have a backbone. Sometimes you have to be a little rude. I've had doctors tell me that I'm not that sick, I usually tell them that they obviously didn't graduate top of their class. I have doctors threatening certain actions if I don't do what they want and I threaten legal action. I have brought in photos of strange rashes just so the doctor would know what I was talking about.

Now, when I visit my current doctor I bring a notebook with a list of concerns and questions. I don't leave till each one is covered. I also request copies of PFTs so I can compare them myself. I research medications so I'm aware of what side effects are cause for concern.

I listen to my doctor and take his advise to consideration. I don't always follow his advice (he knows it). This post isn't a bash on doctors or to put all doctors down. I like the doctor I have. He treats me as an equal and encourages me to make my own decisions regarding my healthcare. Unfortunately, not all doctors are like him. I've dealt with several attendings at the hospital who make me want to pull my hair out. And the doctors at the transplant center, while they are among the best they act like they are gods and I should obey their every command.

So remember, it's okay to stand up for yourself. You have the right to be spoken to not at. Your concerns are valid. No matter who the doctor think he is, he is only as good as the current advancement of science in his field.