How to Deal with the Frustration of
a Limited Discussion About Your Meniere's Disease Symptoms During a
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
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
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.
You can also read more about this in another article we
I Wish Doctors Had More Time to
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