Health

Doctors roulette – meeting new doctors

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March 3, 2020

Who doesn’t want their personal Grey’s Anatomy moment when they meet a new doctor? This good-looking doctor, who spends an extra amount of time on the patient, not only quickly prescribes a new medication to treat a symptom, but really cares for this patient starts, despite all the stress around him.
Unfortunately, something like this happens less and less, especially in a health care system that acts reactivly rather than curativly and where time is literally money. Today it is easier to prescribe a medication for a new symptom than to really research the cause – due to lack of time, but also because patients are often subjectively better helped with a drug than with a sentence like “You should just do this or that in yours Change everyday life. ”But that’s another topic.

For people who have a chronic illness and therefore have to keep seeing doctors again and again in the long term, it is very important to find the right doctor for themselves. Because if you are chronically ill, the treating doctor should accompany the patient as long as possible and through all stages of life. After all, it is easier to go to the same doctors again and again who already know you, who can assess a new change better and more individually and, of course, to strengthen trust.
So it is important to find the right doctors for you. Which is not just an odyssey for people with a chronic illness, but also for people whose symptoms are still undiagnosed. So you make appointments one by one, hoping that next time your Grey’s Anatomy doctor will stand in front of you with THE diagnosis. And even after intensive research, you don’t know who to expect when you enter the doctor’s office. Kind of like roulette with doctors.
In the following I would like to address a few points that are important to me when looking for a new doctor.

Prepare yourself well

  1. Prepare yourself well, because there is nothing worse for a doctor than a patient who appears in the practice for the first time and when asked “why are they coming to me today”, that patients answer is “I don’t know, I’m just not well “. Basically, doctors always want to help at first. So prepare yourself well by knowing your symptoms. Describe them as precisely as possible, maybe you know when they first occurred, how long they already last and whether you can bring them in line with something else (time of day, activity, environment, workplace …).
    If there is no diagnosis, the search for it is always a detective game. The more information you have, the easier it will be for the doctor treating you
  2. Bring all documents from previous examinations with you, such as findings, medical reports, images of examinations etc., as well as your current medication plan with your standard medication and the required / emergency medication. I always bring a whole folder.
  3. Research in advance which doctor you can or want to go to. There is not one doctor for everything, but after studying medicine, each doctor decides to be a specialist in a certain subject area. Basically, you can first go to your family doctor and he or she will then refer you to a certain specialty, perhaps also to a certain clinic or directly to a doctor.
    If this is not the case, you have to do your own research. Today, almost every doctor’s office has its own website, which lists the range of services of the respective doctor and often also the diseases in which the person is specialized.
    In addition, if you search for the respective doctor’s office in the search engine of your choice, you can often find reviews of other patients and then get an idea of ​​whether you want to be treated by this person.
  4. Sometimes you already know someone who has a similar illness and this person may be able to recommend a doctor or a hospital.
    There are also charitable associations or contact points for many diseases. There you can also register and they often know where a good treatment center is for the respective disease.
  5. Basically, I would always say: the quality of medical treatment should be the highest priority, even if you have a long way to go. Nevertheless, the way has to be put in relation. Sometimes it is too far or you would have to go there very often. It makes sense to have a doctor on site who you can always turn to.
  6. Have a lot of time and patience. In the rarest of cases, you have your doctor’s appointment at the agreed time. Something can always come up in the practice or the clinic. From an emergency to the patient who does not understand the new medication, to a jam while taking blood or in front of the X-ray machine. Try to schedule plenty of time until the next appointment so that you avoid unnecessary stress. Take some activity/distraction with you for the waiting time – a book, something to work on etc.
    Sometimes I wait for a doctor’s appointment for over 6 months. I am happy when the appointment is finally is translated into action and I really don’t want to stress about waiting times then.

The past is in the past

  1. During their studies, Doctors are trained to always diagnose the more common diseases. “A horse and a zebra also look similar, but in our region there is a horse more common, why should there be a zebra right now?” Therefore it often happens that people with a rare or rather unexplored illness are wrong for a long time or even not be diagnosed. So it is up to the patient not to give up the search. I personally think a doctor is good when he / she thinks around the corner and works into the case, especially when the solution is not immediately obvious.
  2. There are doctors who consider themselves as someone special. And I personally think that a doctor shows true humanity and professionality if a doctor can admit that a topic exceeds his / her specialist expertise. I think it much better if this doctor passes the patient on to another doctor instead of selling his / her knowledge as a gold standard and “put a stamp” on the patient.
  3. Every doctor is a new opportunity. This new person does not yet know about your story, she does not know what you have been through and has no connection to the doctors you have met so far. Yes, it is tedious to tell the whole story again. Yes, it is tiring to have to build new trust again and again. But with every new doctor there is a chance to find the right person now.
    What was, was. Be vigilant, be careful. But do not project the experiences you had with other doctors onto the new doctor.

Trust your gut feeling

  1. Do not have a guilty conscience or feeling when you need to take a day off from work to attend a doctor’s appointment. Or when you need to postpone an appointment or meeting. Every new doctor’s appointment is an opportunity and your health should be the top priority. After all, without this health, you can no longer work or make an appointment.
  2. The doctor will never understand what you are going through. Completing the study of human medicine to know illnesses from theory is one thing, experiencing it, going through it and feeling it, is something completely different. And even doctors who have already treated ten thousands of people with your disease can assess your situation and, at best, understand it, but never feel it. There are also doctors who have an illness themselves, but with the variety of illnesses that exist, it is unlikely that this person has or had your illness. What I want to say with this: Never let your feelings, symptoms and sensations be denied. But also: Sometimes there are doctors who may be emotionally more like a stone, but who are technically damn good. Being a doctor is a lot of things. There are good people with bad skills and rude people with good skills in every industry. You will find your way and sometimes you have to be satisfied with “damn good” instead of “perfect”.
  3. Trust your body awareness. Trust your body and your feeling. If you are sure that something is wrong with you, you think that the diagnosis that you received does not suit you or that you are not able to cope with your doctor, then follow this feeling!
    I think it is super important that the right doctor communicates with you at eye level. You need this person so hopefully you’ll be better soon. But that doesn’t give that person the right to treat you from above. If you really communicate on an equal footing, you form a team, which sounds super idealistic. And if it’s just about simple questions and things like getting cough syrup prescribed etc. then this bond is probably not that important either. I am speaking from the position of a patient with a congenital, chronic and life-shortening illness.
    As already described above: I would like to be well looked after and taken seriously. I am the specialist of my body because I have known my body all my life. Especially with rare and chronic diseases, the patient often knows his body better than a doctor who looks at the patient for ten minutes. Even if studying medicine is a great achievement, treating it properly is quite another. You are the specialist of your body, the doctor of medicine. You should be a team to find the best solutions and treatment concepts for you.
  4. And most importantly: DON’T GIVE UP There are so many doctors and diagnoses out there. At some point you will find the right way for you.

This is not about telling you that you need a pure understanding and pleanty of empathy for doctors and their stressful profession or that you tolerate and believe everything they say.
The search for the ideal doctor for yourself or even the search for a correct or suitable diagnosis can be a damn long and, above all, mentally exhausting process. I just think that if we take a more relaxed approach to the whole issue and don’t think “this needs to be the onw” every time we go to the doctor, we can endure this procedure better. We only have this one body and it is our responsibility to take care of it. We have to stand up for ourselves, trust our bodies, say yes to the right opportunities and train ourselves to say no if we mean or feel no. There are a hell of a lot of doctors out there. We shouldn’t deny ourselves the chance to find the right one just because we’ve had bad experiences before.
Yes, we are tired and yes, maybe trust in doctors is under attack. But for what happened to us, the people we meet in the future can do nothing. You can learn trust again. And no matter how long this journey may be, you should be worth it to yourself, your health, your body and your soul.

So don’t give up.
– Sabrina

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Sabrina
Münster, DE

My name is Sabrina and I am living with half a heart. Living with chronic illness can be challenging. That's why I share my experiences, my learnings and moments full of real emotions, love and vulnerability. In this way, I want to encourage other people with and without chronic illness to live a life they love. I am a student, a blogger and public speaker.