A Day in the Life in the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Residency Program



Going to a New Doctor in a Life With Chronic Pain

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Most of us who have lived with chronic pain for many years know how important it is to find a doctor/partner who listens, treats, and cares. We all have kissed a lot of frogs along the way to finding our prince or princess of a doctor. I know each of us have varying opinions about what we are looking for in a doctor.

My mom used to want compassion above all attributes in a doctor and if that doctor reached over and held her hand or patted it, he could have been Dr. Mengele or the most ignorant one in history and she wouldn't have cared. If one was rude to her, she wouldn't go back to see him or her ever again and would dismiss them by saying, "Well, they are just 'practicing' you know." Other patients have ideas and concepts about the nationality, the age, and the educational backgrounds of their physicians. Obviously the doctors know their educational background is important. Just look on the walls in any exam room in almost any physician's office. Others display all of their certificates or degrees in their office quarters, but they're there.

I have to agree with Mom to a certain extent, although, as a nurse, I view doctors quite differently. Two of my favorite doctors I left behind in California were educated in other countries. One was from Great Britain and another from the Philippines; so much for the opinion about a doctor having to be educated in this great country of ours. I do find it interesting that so many physicians come here to practice. My current physicians have all been trained and educated in this country, and I have found them great but have also run into a few losers trained here and elsewhere. I believe the bottom line is the quality of their minds as they were receiving that education, their level of compassion at the "bedside," and their ability to take the time to listen to the patients. Staying current in their method, medications, and research findings is also very important.

I'm preparing to see a new GI (gastrointestinal) doctor tomorrow and am striving to be prepared. Do you remember those Looney Tunes cartoons when one of the comic characters is having a struggle with his conscience? Remember the ones when there are two characters sitting on his shoulders; one is a devil and the other is an angel. That's how I often feel when going to a new doctor. The angelic side of me wants to be courteous, kind. and a good compliant, docile patient. (Okay, I can hear you laughing. Icanbe compliant and docile.) Then on my other shoulder is the little devil who is telling me to misbehave and say what I feel, which would be, "Let me be honest with you doctor. I've traveled a very long way on an extremely painful sitter and you had better be worth it and not prove to be a complete ass." I know, I know. I won't do that unless I'm pushed. I've only done that once in recent years, and I must admit it felt really good.

I believe that is why I am so cautious about choosing a doctor, getting references from other doctors I respect and giving my choice a great deal of thought. I've spent a couple of weeks getting prepared by sending for all of my records for the last two years, making copies of those records so I can keep some for my own files. I always carry a list of my current medications and made a new copy that is not quite so ragged looking, picked up a DVD of a CT scan that was performed in the ER the end of March and the operation report from my surgery, which was two years ago today. (I know — where has the time gone?)

I'm also taking in the long list of medications from four unsuccessful attempts to rid my poor sore stomach ofH. pylor. I think a new GI doctor would be interested in knowing what was done and what didn't work, and could use that knowledge in his approach to my many problems.

I assume the doctor might develop a first impression of me as being a bit obsessive, but I'm willing to take that chance in the name of good communication. I think I want to provide a roadmap for him and hope we end up with a productive destination. It's my body and I'm trying to protect it, help it heal, and give it the best possible care and treatment; after all, I've got a lot of living to do.

Last Updated:8/19/2010
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Date: 06.12.2018, 02:28 / Views: 94364