What makes a good doctor? A person that:
- Looks at you and sees you
- Cares when they ask, "How are you today?"
- Is respectful
- Educates him/herself about your uncommon condition
- Listens to your concerns
- Will dialog about your medical concerns
- Is not too cool to look at information that you bring
- Trusts your intuition about your body
- Asks kindly if you think you you are depressed and trusts your answer
- Will order reasonable blood work for your condition and other potential comorbid conditions to rule the conditions in or out or to establish baselines
What makes a bad doctor? A person who:
- Has knowledge of your condition from thirty year old research and vague thirty year old medical school remembrances of the one hour during one semester where he/she learned that JFK had Addison's and how it was treated then
- Refuses to write your scripts for slightly more med than you need so you can have extra in your purse
- Refuses to write you a script for solucortef actovial if you have Addison's because, apparently, he enjoys being sued for malpractice!
- Is an ass
- Makes you feel like a hypochondriac
- Refuses basic blood work
- Makes you feel guilty about getting copies of your labs
- Thinks you're crazy for bringing in enlightening information about your condition
- Doesn't trust your judgement or intuition
When many of us go into the doctor's office, it's intimidating. We're left in a tiny, smelly, often windowless room for entirely too long with nothing to do but search through the drawers and steal pretty colored rubber gloves. Oh, did I say that out loud? We know that once the doctor comes into the room, he/she is already thinking about how fast he/she can get out of the room and on to the next patient. We might have lots of concerns, questions, symptoms to share, script requests and blood work requests. We've got to be organized when we go into the office. Here's a good game plan:
1. Make a list of your meds and supplements, quantities and times you are taking your meds. Ask for prescription refills now!
2. Make a list of your questions.
3. Make a list of your symptoms.
4. Make a list of the blood work you would like to have done.
5. Bring a copy of this paper to your doctor that he/she can keep.
6. If you have information you want to share with your doctor, make sure it's from reputable sources (journal articles or abstracts) so you doctor will take it seriously. Highlight important stuff. GIVE DOCTOR COPIES and request that they be put into your file.
7. When you get your blood drawn, INSIST THAT YOUR LAB WORK GET FAXED OR MAILED TO YOUR HOME BEFORE THE BLOOD IS DRAWN. It's vital to get your lab work results BEFORE you go to your follow up. It's vital to have copies of ALL of your lab work for as far back as you can get it. We're not dummies even if we don't have medical degrees. You will care enough to see trends in blood work that your doctor might not have time to see. I for one, diagnosed my Addison's and hypothyroid before a doctor caught on. I'm more aware of the comorbid conditions to Addison's than many doctors and can watch my blood work for signs of the next disease that I will collect.
Please be proactive. Please insist on respect. Please get copies of your labs. Be a knowledgeable consumer. You deserve to be healthy and live every day to the fullest. You can't do that if you can't get out of bed!