Friday, December 1, 2006

Finding A New Doctor

In some previous posts I have referred to my "ex-doctor" or my "ex-GP." In life I have also referred to him as "Ding Dong," "Dr. Asshole" and other unflattering terms. Why did I stay with this man for app. six years?

Well, I have "white coat syndrome" for one. I have a strange fear of the Doctor as Authority Figure. I just gave it that name as I don't believe it's really a classified "Capital-S Syndrome." Also, I always likened us to an old married couple. We would argue over my treatment and it was kind of funny. Or not. I mean, it actually bordered on a co-dependent relationship, looking back. But I got away with a lot because I was smart (he bestowed three Ph.D.s on me in our time together) so I could usually get what I wanted out of him.

But he would do a lot of other, what I feel, unprofessional things. He would huff and puff and complain about how busy he was and tell me of his troubles. Um, excuse me, but is this not my appointment for my troubles? Good thing I'm not in the U.S. and I wasn't paying for this! And he would pull this, kind of, passive-aggressive bullshit where he'd get all uppity about something and then say things like, "Oh, you didn't think I'd do that (for you) did you?" or "Oh, you don't think I care, do you?"

I would have to fight a lot to get things done. Like referrals. Sometimes I'd "win," sometimes, I'd lose. This was not about me being a demanding patient. Remember, this was the same man who did not believe I was having seizures. Upon finally seeing a neurologist, the neuro said to me my brain was "screaming" for an EEG and MRI. He wanted to know why on earth I'd never had them done before. I didn't answer.

No, this was because this GP wanted to treat everything himself and things he couldn't treat simply did not exist. Or they were "stress." And because I was too afraid to leave, I just sat there and took it.

Well, over the last few months, it became unbearable that by appointment times, I was either so anxious I could barely stand it and would burst into tears or feel like I was going to ex/implode or I was so angry I wanted to punch him. And I'm pretty passive and non-violent!

Time to find a new doctor?

So off I went. And I wanted a woman haha! I'd only ever seen men and they'd all proven to be trouble. Sorry all you male GPs out there, I don't like to make blanket statements but I've just had no luck with you! I'm sure women physicians can be jerks too but I thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd have better luck with another gal.

Everyone out there, I recommend you interview your prospective GPs! I'd never done it before and boy, did I feel like an ass (I was SO nervous!) but it really makes a difference. These people are responsible for your health! Here is a list of questions that I came up with. Maybe you can think of others that would apply to your situation. I kept these pretty broad:


1. How long have you been in practice?

2. How do you see the role of the patient in your practice?

3. Do you value a collaborative relationship with your patients (eg. valuing my opinions, open to hearing about research/treatments I am interested in?)

4. How would you feel if I brought medical research/information obtained from the internet to an appointment for discussion?

5. What made you want to become a GP?

6. What do you think the role of a GP is?

7. Do you have any personal philosophies concerning treatment?

8. How do you keep abreast of the latest in medical research/trends?

9. What are your feelings about antibiotics? Do you have any other feelings regarding the prescription of any other medications?

10. How would you feel if I did not wish to take a certain medication prescribed?

11. Do you have a specialty?

12. What is your affiliated hospital?

13. Can you refer patients to other practitioners outside of your affiliated hospital?

14. What is your policy/are your feelings about giving referrals?

15. What is your availability, appointment wait times and what is your current patient load?

16. How long do you usually spend with a patient?

17. What is your policy with telephone calls, urgent issues/questions if they arise (i.e. will you speak to me over the telephone, call me back if I leave a message or by appt. only?)

18. Who handles your practice during vacations, leaves of absences etc…?

19. What are your office hours? Is this your only location?

20. How do you handle after hours needs?

21. If lab work needs to be done, where are the tests conducted? How quickly are results usually obtained and how will I be notified?

How did I make out? Well, after almost giving myself an aneurysm (hehe, I know you can't really "do" that to yourself but it sounds fun to say) I finally found someone who I think is good. She seems certainly proficient although a bit distant but we're just getting to know each other. (I talk way too much and I've even prepared long "notes" in Excel/Word for our appointments so maybe she hates me already!) I already have a therapist--it's not like I need her to be my shoulder to cry on. But some level of "humanity" would be good. I don't want to feel like I'm talking to a robot.

Anyway, she's setting up the referrals that I need and we're taking things from there.

Bye bye Dr. Ding Dong Asshole!

6 comments:

Cathy said...

PA, Thank you so much for signing on for my writing project. I can't wait to read your story!...:)

Patient Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks! I just left you a comment. I'm done.

No, not *really* a keener. It's the low impulse control and hyperfocusing of the ADD. Once I "signed up" if I didn't do it right away the anxiety would have caused me "issues" so better to just do it--or at least get started. And the hyperfocusing actually helps--kind of a pro of ADD--as long as you don't go overboard and tune everything out, then it's a con.

And yes, guilty as charged. I hyperfocus to a fualt (eg. I can't believe it's already past 3:30 and I haven't even had lunch!)

Sarebear said...

pa, I've suspected for awhile I have ADD on top of other things too, the hyperfocusing.

Everything you describe in this comment is JUST LIKE ME.

Lol.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

It is *SO* important to be your own advocate and to know who is the best professional with whom you'll choose to work.

Keep the empowerment going!

Sarebear said...

Great list of questions. Most of those would be good for me to ask my prospective shrinks, now that I'm in the market for a new one, since Dr. Mostly a-hole is closing his practice.

I'll be using alot of these questions, thanks!

Except I don't know if t hey charge for their time for me to sit down with them for a bit to do this, if they do, then I guess I just pick one out of thin air or something. Out of thin air off the UHC list.

Patient Anonymous said...

sarebear: Yes, I've been surprised at the level of comorbidity of the two disorders, BP and ADD. If you think that you might have ADD as well, bring it up. It couldn't hurt to talk about it--never.

And thank you about the questions. I'm not sure how appts. are charged in the US but you could make it part of your initial consult? I whipped through mine pretty quickly and some of the answers that are more practical about how the office runs could also be answered by office staff.

Dr. Serani Thank you for stopping by! After navigating the mental health system for many years, I've learned a few tricks *grin* Advocate, advocate, advocate!