CHOOSING A DOCTOR

 

There are doctors... and there are doctors.

The first thing you need to do is to cease to be impressed by the fact someone is a doctor. It is vital for you to perceive doctors as people. They are not Gods!

If, for example, the person scheduling an appointment says it will be three months before you can get in, hang up, and dial another number. A doctor is someone you hire. If you do not find the level of service he/she provides to be attractive, look around... The damage you suffer in those three months just might kill you.

TEMPERMENT

There are all kinds of people. Doctors are people. Therefore, there are all kinds of doctors.

I place temperament (or attitude) atop this list because what any doctor ends up doing for you depends on what that doctor wants to do for you.

Before my mother got old I suppose I perceived doctors just about like anyone else, who had little experience with them. Mom suffered from UTIs all the time - a common problem with older women. I had several occasions to see her interact with various doctors.

It was then that I began to suspect some doctors perceive older people as... how can I say this... perhaps less important, than a younger patient. I found this to be true of younger, male doctors in particular - those still enjoying (or suffering from) that first blush of youth; an overdose of testosterone that comes with the territory, in younger males.

Many factors, indeed, are involved in personality. Perhaps as a child a doctor saw his father treat older people with disdain, even disrespect. Children copy their parents long, long before they attain the capacity to judge the traits, they inherit.

Perhaps the status of being a doctor has gone to his/her head, causing that doctor to adopt what I will call a "view from the top." You have had your time. Now you are old, and it's time for you to get out of the way...

Maybe a doctor is simply cold. Some people are. Emotions are not their thing.

When you are with your doctor you should feel that he/she is involved with you, as a person; that he/she greets and treats you with respect and warmth. Humanity and kindness should be not only in the eyes of your doctor but in his/her voice, mannerisms and decisions, as well.

If not, you need to run!

INVOLVEMENT

Doctors are subject to all the problems other kinds of people have, including being bored out of their minds at work. Like everyone else, they do the same things, over and over, every day. Boredom leads to mistakes. Mistakes can put YOU in the ground...

I had kidney stones. That was fun! A young, male doctor took them out. He was a nice guy. I had no problem with his attitude, or his personality. If I did he would never have touched me.

After the procedure, which involved going in through my urethra, some tubes were left inside me in order to assure drainage. I want back a few days later to have those tubes removed. I saw them come out. There was a Y in the tubes, apparently to go up into both my kidneys. One of the tubes was missing the end piece, present on the other one.

I thought about saying something. I did not. That was a mistake.

It kept bugging me. I knew there was still something inside me. Finally I went back to the Urology clinic, walked up to the desk and told them there was still something inside me. The doctor assured me there was not. A polite argument ensued. It ended when the doctor said he would x-ray me and if there was something in there I would not have to pay but if not I would be billed, because Medicare would not pay for it.

When he returned to the little exam room I was in his face was a study, in chagrin. A nurse was with him rolling a craft, containing the equipment necessary to remove what was left behind.

There is no doubt the man was a good doctor - highly educated, experienced and skilled, in his craft. Problem was he was elsewhere, in his mind, as he worked on me. Maybe he was with his lover, of the night before; flying his private plane; defending himself in court over a malpractice suit...

As you assess a potential (or current) doctor, ask yourself - is he/she HERE? Is he/she focused? Or is he/she bored stiff? Your life may hang, in the balance.

SKILLS

That's the easy one. Type your doctor's name, followed by "MD" into the search bar of your favorite search engine. There are web sites that rate and report on doctors. They are easy to find.

IN CLOSING

You owe it to yourself to find the best doctor you can get. Here is a place where laziness and/or denial can, and will really hurt you.

 

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