Definitely most doctors aren't this way. Most are are patient and good communicators. I have seen both types from a professional standpoint, and personal standpoint. Thankfully most of my doctors have been the good kind, yet I've definitely had a few doctors I was not happy with. And I work with a few too.
I've had patients, too, complain to me that, "My doctor didn't let me get a word in edge wise. He explained nothing. I don't even know why I'm in the hospital."
I have empathy for these patients, because I had one doctor who was such a prick he would treat me like I was the stupidest lot on earth. He'd tell me what I was going to do, and it didn't matter what I thought. Literally, he made me feel like the idiot he was treating me as.
Of course I was seeing him because for some reason in 1995 my asthma took a turn for the worse after several years of behaving, and he was a pulmonologist who was highly recommended by a friend. Plus I was in a new town with a new job.
I got to the point I'd rather have no doctor than a doctor who treated me like that. So I fired him. I went the next three years without a doctor, moved to Shoreline where I got my recent job, and the process of moving (and the flu) landed me admitted here at Shoreline in Feb. of 1998 for the first time since I was discharged from NJH.
Ironically, the day before I was admitted in 1998 I had an appointment with an Internist I worked with here at Shoreline Medical. I chose this doctor because he
seemed to be normal. And I chose an Internist because there are no Pulmonologists nor allergists where I live, and I didn't want to travel. And I certainly didn't want to see a family doctor and gamble that he knew how to manage asthma.
So, the very first thing I said to my new doctor (We'll call him Dr. Breath) was this: "Look, I'm the kind of patient who likes to have control. I study asthma, I know all the new meds, and I want a say in my therapy. Likewise, I want you and I to work as a team to managing my asthma. I can't handle another doctor like my last one. Talking to him was like talking to a brick wall."
Funny thing was, Dr. Breath did his residency with my previous doctor, so he knew him well. "Hey," Dr. Breath said. "I'm fine with that. And I know he can be a hard doctor."
And from there we launched a positive doctor/patient relationship. He provides his wisdom and expertise, and I provide my experience and my asthma expertise. I never over rule him. And, when I come up with an idea, I usually lead him on so he thinks it was his idea. That's fine. I don't need credit.
So, here is my advice to all asthmatics, and anyone who has a chronic illness and has to see doctors on a regular basis:
- Respect your doctor, yet don't let him intimidate you.
- Know you are the boss, not your doctor.
- If you and your doctor don't click, hire a new one.
- If you question the care you're given, ask for a referral
- Make him take the time to answer your questions
- Come with a list of questions and recommendations (on paper if necessary)
- Do not leave his office unless all your questions are answered, and he responds to your recommendations.
- Do not let him leave the office if you are not satisfied.
- And remember, no question is dumb if you do your research and are prepared
Keep in mind here that doctors are busy, and they have a day stacked with many appointments, and they get paid by the appointment, not by how much time they spend with each patient. So a rushed doctor is often a blunt doctor. No disrespect meant, that's just the way it is.
Some people like this. Some people prefer a doctor to take charge. Yet, if you're the kind of person like me who is wise to his condition and wants to be a part of the therapy, then it's up to you to find a doctor who fits your personality type, and fits your agenda.