Going For The Throat: Good Health Care Starts With YOU
Written by, Robyn Davis Hahn
“My doctor doesn’t listen to me… “My doctor is dismissive about my symptoms… “Doctor’s don’t care about patients, they care about money…
Bottom line: Doctor’s SUCK.
My thought?, It’s conjointly YOUR fault, so if you don’t like it, suck it up or do something about it.
You heard (read) me correctly. Stop pointing fingers at your doc, because your “badÃ¢â‚¬ health care is your own fault. To be fair, I don’t think it’s all your fault, doctors and the medical community definitely share the blame, and your disease is certainly not your fault at all. I’m willing to wager there are a few de facto “badÃ¢â‚¬ doctors out there, but not nearly as many as their are complaints from patients. (In the next weeks, I’ll outline some of the problems on the doctor end, but today, the buck stops here.)
Why is it our fault (I’ll join you here, since I’ve ranted about a certain craptastic doctor in the past and know I share the blame)?, There are many possible reasons, and one or more may apply in any particular instance:, our attitude (arrogance, defensiveness, etc.), our knowledge or lack thereof, our compliance with treatments and medications, our submissiveness or lack of assertiveness–basically a lack of effective communication with our doctor. (Clearly this does not apply to those somehow incapacitated.)
We go to doctors largely because we have something wrong, and we expect our doctors and medical staff to be our saviors from disease. Frequently, although we’ve likely been ailing for months or years, we want answers NOW and we want to feel better YESTERDAY. For certain ailments, this may be not only entirely possible, but expected–trauma leading to a fractured bone, for instance. When symptoms are more vague or indistinct, a doctor has to rely on testing (sometimes very general at first, eventually more specific), patient history, and clinical experience to guide them for answers, and the answers aren’t always easy or quick to find. By the time you’ve found the Dear Thyroid support site, you (usually) have the benefit of hindsight, time, and self-research on your side–of course your doctor is stupid, the final answer is so OBVIOUS now.
Let’s back up a minute and look again. Imagine a knock on your door, just as you are about to leave for an important event. You open it to find a kind-looking, smiling, but disheveled young woman. You say hello and she begins speaking very quickly in a foreign language. You start out calm, trying to understand and help, but your lack of immediate understanding is frustrating to her–she begins to gesture, speak louder, maybe she stomps a few steps away before returning and then begins again. By this time, you are shifting your weight and checking your watch because you have have to leave now or you will be late. You start to gesture back–phone?, money?, car?, None of these answers seems right, and you realize something is wrong but you are both exasperated. Finally, you say you’re sorry, but you must go and close the door, as the woman solemnly, defeatedly moves on down the street.
This is what disease diagnosis can look like for a doctor and a patient. They can’t always understand us, and we can’t always understand them. They want to help, but have a waiting room full of other patients. We want help, but don’t know how to concisely verbalize our problems or even realize what information is important and what is confounding. While it is clearly the doctor’s JOB (literally) to get to the bottom of our disease, if there is a breakdown somewhere it is OUR responsibility to change the dynamic, or change the doctor.
So lets give the doctors just a little bit of a break. The vast majority of them really do care, really do know their stuff, and really can help. We just have to learn to speak the same language. Next week, I will have specific ideas and tips, and maybe even a downloadable checklist, of ways to improve the communication and relationship you have with your doctor, which can only better your care in the long run. Hopefully these tools will empower us to recognize, embrace, and ultimately resolve the barriers between US and THEM.
Because, at the end of the day, your health is your responsibility.
The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while Nature cures the disease. -Voltaire
In honor of THYROID AWARENESS MONTH, I invite you to not only leave comments if you wish, but also to join in some interactive discussion on the bulletin board. In addition, for the next 7 days I will be tracking statistics on the entire Dear Thyroid Forums–and will be giving the new Thyroid Awareness Bracelets (actually, THREE bracelets) to the largest contributor (numbers of posts), a random contributor (the more you post, the better your chances), and to the most insightful or thought provoking post about today’s subject.
Tags: conveying symptoms, endocrinologist issues, Going for the Throat, Health Care Column, improving patient doctor relationships, patient responsibility, Robyn Davis Hahn Health Care Writer, speaking with doctors, thyroid health, thyroid patient issues