30 Days of Gratitude – Day #5, Yes Doctor


Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, I revisit my post from Saturday where I talked about the importance of regularly seeing your doctor. Some of the comments made me grateful for something else:

Day #5 – Great Luck With Doctors Who Care

Now don’t get me wrong – we’ve had some lousy doctors over the years, including one who seemed to regard Lisa as a test subject rather than an actual person, and a pediatrician so distracted by her own life that she totally missed diagnosing our son who when he was 2.5 ended up at the doctor’s office 5 times in 7 days before being admitted to the hospital!

In my response to one of the comments I said I could have had a ‘#0’ assumption:

β€œHaving a trusted professional who knows you and what you do makes a huge difference.”

It is totally true. And by and large we have had some excellent medical professionals who have actually cared about our health and wellness.

I look at Dr Heinser, back in Massachusetts before we moved as perhaps the best of all of our doctors. He never ignored our concerns, always took the time to ask questions and listen to the answers, and went out of his way to be sure we were OK.

I have mentioned that he ordered non-standard thyroid tests on my for my last physical before moving to New York. I wanted to make sure to use up the residual healthcare from my previous job … and I am glad I did. What I took as ‘post layoff blues’ was actually the beginning of my thyroid crashing.

And while our first primary care doctor here in NY was ‘good’, she was also very busy with a young family and pared her hours back until she left to be at home full time. As it turns out, that was best for both Lisa and I – we got different doctors this time, but both of them are excellent and have really worked for our health these past couple of years.

The other day Lisa reminded me of other factors that are non-doctor:
– The “Gilderoy Lockehart Effect” (yes, too much Harry Potter on ABC Family last month!) – the doctor who is so busy and frazzled that unless you are a top priority they have no mindspace for you and each meeting feels like the first. Her allergist was like that – when he was doing her nasal surgery and other things it was all very social and familiar, but earlier this year dealing with her worsening allergies … well, never going back THERE again.
– Learning to navigate the system in place at the office: basically there are people in place to keep you away from the doctor unless necessary, which can be annoying if you are the doctor. Last year when Lisa was really sick she saw all sorts of non-doctors before finally getting into the doctor, who was annoyed – and was glad to finally deal with the problems.
– Dealing with insurance: last year we ended up with hundreds of dollars in extra testing charges because the lab on the bottom floor of our doctor’s off is affiliated with the hospital rather than the doctor, meaning the charge structure was different. Fortunately that was changed, so my bill for this year’s round of tests? $12.

And of course, I have to make sure you know where I got that title reference …


Have you had one great doctor in your life?

23 thoughts on “30 Days of Gratitude – Day #5, Yes Doctor

  1. I have had good doctors, but as far as having a great doctor that I would go out of my way to see…unfortunately no.

    At some point my thoughts on medical care changed to the less I see them for non-emergent care, the better I feel – less drugs, less stress, etc., yeah I know that I at risk for many things by choosing this course of action, but it is my choice and I am doing with reasonable knowledge of the risks. I know that is not the recommendation that is given by everyone who is a lot smarter than I am, but my experiences have led me down this path. πŸ™‚

    It is not what others should do.

    Maybe someday I will have the great experience of meeting a medical professional, that I trust, has the time to and then listens to what I am saying without making a judgement, determination or diagnosis based only on their initial reaction (that 20 minutes or so they see you every couple of years) to what I am describing, doesn’t believe in over-reliance on pharmaceuticals as the only answer to all problems and their practice is based on prevention versus treatment.

    Finally and most important to me – is that they respect my ability to ask questions what they are doing to my body, don’t act like they are “God” and be arrogant when providing their expertise, be willing to discuss alternatives beyond the simple answer or even non-western medical options and if I choose to reject their recommendations, not get all pissy about it.

    I don’t believe that I am asking for a lot, but I am the consumer, who ultimately decides what happens to my body and chooses who gets my medical insurance money and to who I pay those wonderful deductibles.

    Sorry Mike I will get off my soapbox…you are lucky to have had the experiences you have had with your medical professionals.

    • haha – I LOVE your soapbox … and think that I am not alone in thinking of specific doctors who fit all of your negative descriptions! I have definitely had many negatives … which makes me even more grateful for key positives πŸ™‚

  2. Its taken some patience to find doctors who I really like and feel like are a good fit. When I moved to MD it was really hard at first because I had no idea where to start with finding good doctors. I figured I had to start somewhere and over the years i have developed a network on people I trust and who I feel like give me the best care. Its definitely not an easy task and I am sure it turns many people away from getting ongoing healthcare if they can’t find providers that they like!

    • Had a similar experience moving to NY, but one upside of a smaller area is fewer choices – I wanted someone close to home and convenient to work, and it proved easy enough. But I got lucky …

  3. Yes, I have come across amazing doctors. The doctor who delivered my first daughter saved her life as I went into labor over 10 weeks early and I credit him with making it possible not only for her to stay healthy (she stayed in until 34 weeks) but also giving me a correct diagnosis and then preventing the issue from happening with my second two kids. Him, and then my daughter’s spine doctor, who, made the call to perform a new surgery on her that has let her avoid having surgeries every 6-9 months until she’s fully grown. I’ve had some not-so-great ones too as you describe, but for all the good the good ones have done, they all have my respect in that way.

    • Awesome! It is amazing all the stuff that can happen when it comes to kids – I have been amazed reading your journey, just as others have reflected amazement at what we went through with our boys. And in many cases, a good doctor really can be a life or death difference.

  4. I have one particularly great doctor in my life (:D) But I have seriously had some amazing, amazing physicians. 3 in particular: my pediatrician, who sent me to a specialist; my specialist, who diagnosed my illness and treated me for years and years; my specialist at UVA, who fought with the insurance companies for me. The other docs have been good, but those 3 still get Christmas cards.

    • Those three doctors, especially the two GI docs, made an enormous difference in Susie’s life AND in mine. Susie’s GI surgeon also gets added to that list. She was determined to find a medication that worked on a very specific problem–and she stuck with it until she did-she had a medication made just for Susie, and it worked. These doctors weren’t just “brilliant scientists,” they were human and funny and loved their patients—–and listened to us parents,too

      • Funny how it all threads together … and how much it matters taking parents into consideration! So glad it all worked out πŸ™‚

    • haha – knew you couldn’t help mentioning your ‘in house medical care’ πŸ˜‰ And the people who will do the insurance battles? Amazing. We had one tell Lisa, oh the insurance won’t cover but it will only cost you a couple of thousand dollars to get this done. Wait – what?!?

    • It is sad you haven’t had much luck … especially with your major undertaking next year it would have be good to have a solid foundation. And I do worry about the ‘Web MD lifestyle’ as it is prone to … well, being wrong for myriad reasons especially in cases that need more than a recitation of obvious external symptoms. I hope you do find something …

  5. I’m lucky to not have much need for a doctor, so it’s not a big deal to me that I don’t have a good one. I have my blood work done annually, so my doc sees it, but basically, we’re just staying the course and I’m happy as long as I get prescriptions for birth control and an inhaler. For a while my doctor tried different things for my asthma so I wouldn’t use my inhaler as often, but we ended up stopping all of that because it was just more meds and I still needed an inhaler before any exercise. For all my medical questions, I will guiltily admit that 2 of my running buddies who are doctors get the brunt of that — they also sometimes even get medical questions that I come across at work. I don’t feel too bad though because I give out lots of free legal advice to them and my other running buddies.

  6. It is so hard to find good doctors! I currently really like my GP, because he’s also a runner and so he doesn’t balk when I talk about how much I run or explain this or that nagging ache and pain. Before him I had a Dr. tell me to stop running because of relatively mild ITBS. Crazyness. There was also a whole long string of very expensive doctors appointments to deal with a mystery illness before one specialist finally told me that if it wasn’t bothering me, it wasn’t worrying him, and to move on. So frustrating…
    I’m glad to hear you’ve found some good doctors right now. It makes such a difference, as you said.

    • Glad you have a good GP … my doctor comments about seeing me out running all the time, so I doubt she’s mess with my running! haha! And I have definitely seen ‘mystery seeker’ doctors – with my wife in particular. There are definitely issues, but nothing ever figured out for sure, just mitigated.

  7. Interesting post. Apart from being a doctor (not going to comment on any of that), living in the UK where you don’t see your doctor unless there’s something wrong gives a different perspective. Apart from maternity care 10 yrs ago, I haven’t been for about 20yrs!. The concept of just going to get some ‘routine blood work’ doesn’t exist over here. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but very different!

  8. Oh, doctors drive me bonkers. When I was 20, it took me 3 doctors and over a year before I found one who took me seriously. Which was how they found my hernia and then my GERD diagnosis but he had to go and retire. It’s been years and I still haven’t found one as good as he was. But I’ll keep looking.

    • That is awful! I wish we could have moved our primary care Dr from Mass to NY with us, he was the best! But the kids’ pediatrician back there was pretty ‘meh’ so no big loss πŸ™‚ Having to find new doctors is always a hassle …

  9. Having good Drs is a top priority for me. We actually changed Ashton’s pediatrician when he was 3 months old because as great as he was when we interviewed him, he just wasn’t the right fit and missed some pretty big things to us. His pediatrician now is FABULOUS, like, returns ALL my calls himself and within 10 minutes of me calling, even in the evening and on the weekends. He listens to us and our concerns, talks through multiple options and pros and cons to them and being listened to is big for me, especially when it comes to my child. That kind of service is almost unheard of these days and I love him. I have a great PCP and OB too, I got lucky in both of those cases where it was luck of the draw when we moved to our town and I didn’t know anyone but I LOVE both of them, which is great!

    • Having good communications with the pediatrician is HUGE. As I mentioned, we still remember the frustration of the non-communicative part-time pediatrician and ending up with our older son in the hospital as a result. Not cool! Glad you have a great one for Ashton!

  10. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude Revisited | Running Around the Bend

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