Did your Doctor audition for you?

You are still in the running to become…….

AMERICA’S.          NEXT.           TOP.               GI!    

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We all know that a good doctor is hard to find. It seems absurd to me that there are so few of us who are happy with the care we are receiving. It seems even more absurd that we stick around and keep these doctors that we are unhappy with. I have shared a few horror stories of my own with you about terrible doctors I have had, and recently I feel the need to go on the hunt for a new doctor again. This time it’s not because of my doctors ability. I give him props because he is the one who diagnosed me when others before him couldn’t. He is good at what he does…but what he hasn’t done is create any sort of relationship with me. Is that enough to call it quits? I don’t know. I think i’m just weary of all doctors after all of the bad experiences i’ve been through.

One thing doctors fail to realize is it isn’t just about how good you are at being a doctor, we also want someone we feel cares for us. Someone who takes the time to listen and is available when we need them. During our Live chat last night on Ustream Jackie and I talked about the doctors we have “fired” and we heard from some of you who are unhappy with your doctors. Here’s the thing! They work for YOU. Don’t feel that you are stuck with a doctor. When you are looking for a doctor pretend they are auditioning for you. 

Here are some things I look for:

Is the doctor available? Do you have to go on a wild goose chase to contact your doctor? Is it hard to reach them and do they respond in a timely manner? Though doctors are very busy people it’s important that they get back to you or at least have someone else get back to you when you need help. Do you feel too rushed and like they are ready to run out the door because they are waiting to get to the next patient or do you feel like you have their full attention? 

How does the doctor talk to you? Bedside manner is very important. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard from friends or followers that their doctor said something that was so uncaring or insulting that they didn’t even go back to the doctor for a long time which only made getting care more difficult. Last summer when I finally started speaking up for myself I fired a surgeon who came into my room and told me to “eat a hamburger” before we knew I was in a terrible crohn’s flare. Not even joking, those exact words came out of his mouth! At first I cried because I was shocked at how uncaring that was, and then I requested a new doctor. That was when I got a 2nd scope and we found out I had crohn’s disease and was in a bad flare-up. No wonder I was in pain and not eating! That surgeon actually came back and apologized to me and I like him a lot now. I also told you about another surgeon who said I must be okay because I was wearing make-up. If a doctor is talking to you in a way that insults you, LEAVE.  

How does my doctor listen to me? Is your doctor so busy that he isn’t listening to you because he needs to go and see his next patient? This is important because we may hold back information about our health if we feel like our doctor does not want to listen to us or isn’t available. 

Does the doctor use social media? To me this is a bonus. Does that mean I want to be friends on facebook and tweet my doctor all the time? No. But I do enjoy the doctors I see out there using social media. It shows that they are involved and that they care about what they are doing and the people they treat. Probably a good sign that they have great bedside manner. If a doctor emails it’s a big bonus to me! I hate the phone but I am down for sending an email. Love that! 

Do they know what they are doing? Of course this is important too. You know your body and when things are not right. If your doctor isn’t doing anything in their power to fix it then leave. Simple as that. 

Do they follow through on your treatment plan? Are you clueless about your treatment plan or well informed? Do you know exactly why you are receiving the care and medication you are getting? Do you have regular check-ups or do you wonder when your next appointment should be?  It’s important that a doctor works for you. You should be aware of your treatment plan and your doctor should make things as easy as possible. You’re sick, who wants to go through all of that? 

Does your doctor listen to your suggestions? Does he or she consider treatments that you’ve read about or tell you it’s BS? A lot of doctors don’t like it when you are an “empowered patient”.  I guess their ego gets the best of them. It’s important to have a doctor who listens to you and that you come up with a plan that you are both comfortable with. 

Does the doctor only treat one aspect of the disease? I have come to find that doctors of IBD only focus on the gut. What about diet, mental health, other areas the disease affects, finding support, etc? One of my former doctors told me to stay away from online support sites instead of offering up good ones. Everyone needs support and it would be great to see a doctor more involved in all areas of health. 

If you can find all of this in a doctor hold onto them! It seems like when I find one thing in a doctor they are lacking in another. I have been sick my entire life and just now I am learning to be assertive with my doctors. It’s not something that comes natural to me because I tend to be very agreeable and don’t like conflict. From now on I am auditioning potential doctors. 

How about you guys? Did you audition your doctor? Are you assertive when it comes to your care? Do you have a doctor you love? 

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-Sara