Karin & David Henderson

21362 River Road

Maple Ridge, B.C.

Canada V2X 2B3

604-463-8666 (PST)

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Email or Phone Karin and David With Your Questions About Meniere's Disease

How to Deal with the Frustration of a Limited Discussion About Your Meniere's Disease Symptoms During a Doctor's Visit

I had an email from someone who has several health challenges and I thought her words reflected many of the emails I get along the same topic. SHE WRITES: My frustration has been that I do not really have that much time in front of my doctor and in today's world, the doctors do not speak with each other. Because of the Internet, people today have more information and when I go to the doctor and ask "could it be this or that" - they know I have been on the computer and I feel like they don't hear me and won't acknowledge my own research. I have always believed that "you are your own best doctor" - but they seem to be insulted. Can you suggest an approach to get a doctor to listen and not be in a hurry?

This is a classic. I suggest you look at it from the doctor's perspective, and I hope you will understand why I think they do what they do. A doctor has gone to learn his "trade" for many years. When you enter their office, you expect them to see your condition in a few minutes. Moreover, we EXPECT a practical, inexpensive, and perfect solution NOW!  Our society demands results. Can you see a bit of a problem right here?

Then enters the information from the Internet and it blows them away with being pretty powerless. They are not very keen to accept anything from the Internet as it isn't sanctioned by their medical groups. It also means more reading and studying,
but it also has to be a blow to their ego. Nowadays, many doctors work in clinics, again a response to our request for "instant" service. (Who wants to wait in an emergency waiting room for hours?) But I think this "encourages" a less than personal relationship-building mentality. So in a combination of an impersonal relationship and a challenge in the form of Internet "consulting" without their participation, what professional is going to welcome you to spend half an hour? It will take some time to go over your specific needs: yet you have already presented him with a possible solution. It may not be their solution and now they need to justify themselves quickly.

They also have huge overhead. So it follows that they need to see a lot of patients in a day to get by. And if each of these patients gives more Internet information, this could really create a backlog of reading and you wanted that diagnosis and prescription when?

But honesty, I think it's difficult these days to be a patient or a doctor.

Here are a few ideas you might try. See if you can always get the same doctor if at all possible in that doctor's office.  (This will be impossible in a walk-in clinic.) And when you book the appointment, make sure the booking person knows what it's about. Don't book for one thing and then present yourself with another unless it's an emergency. In that case, let the office know. Then the doctor and the "right" room are prepared. Make sure the doctor knows the medicines you are on. They see an awful lot of people in a day. You may have to tactfully remind them of these: both prescription and over the counter drugs.  They won't know all of them as some other doctor might have seen
you in the meantime.

Have your symptoms or your questions written out. Ask permission to take notes. People get very nervous when you start writing as they speak. If you can't write and talk, have someone come with you, but ask permission to do this. Doctors take an oath of confidentiality: this could make them very uncomfortable. (A family member is best.)

If you have to show them something on your body, please have a shower before you go. In fact, have a shower or wash yourself anyway. "Negative" body odour is quite unpleasant. If you have to have an examination, be ready with appropriate clothing.
There is nothing worse than a patient turning up for a blood pressure examination, wearing a heavy sweatshirt that won't allow enough space for the cuff to be applied. (I had an experience with a lady with a heavy sweatshirt with nothing on underneath, and she insisted on having her blood pressure taken in the grocery store! Won't go into detail here, but it was MOST interesting! ?)

Go in relaxed and happy. You want them to be relaxed, too, so they can give you their best advice. And don't overstay your time unless it's obvious you need to. Their mind will be on the next patient quite soon. And do remember they are human too. So if you have cold, don't breathe all over them: use a tissue and wash your hands after it. You want their best idea, so be a listener and don't challenge them. Just let them know you are trying to help them by giving them as much relevant information as you think they can use.

You might also take a real and sincere interest in their welfare and ask how their day is going. You would be nicely surprised how human every doctor is!  They did go to medical school to help us all stay or become healthy. And don't forget the staff in the office. They are a closely-knit group of human beings and have feelings just like you and me. Their day may not be going as well as yours and you could cheer them up with words of gratitude and encouragement. It all helps.

By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.



Additional Information

You can also read more about this in another article we have called I Wish Doctors Had More Time to Listen.


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