Of course I do the dutiful thing of keeping my annual check-ups as everyone should - and if I really feel there's something wrong, I'll head for the waiting room. Too many times though, I've had less than pleasant experiences.
Take for instance, the time I felt just awful. I finally decided to cry 'Uncle' and researched the best doctors in the area. Being new to North Carolina, I felt optimistic in my selection.
After around an hour of sitting in the waiting room, I was beyond ready to get through the appointment when they finally called my name.
Going back, I sat for another length of time before an older man finally came through the door, looking at my chart and flipping through some pages. No eye contact, no greeting...just a simple..."What seems to be the problem" as he shuffled through some more.
"Well, I don't know really. I just feel...off...I guess."
"What do you mean, off?"
"Tired, sluggish, worn down. Just off."
Lifting his eyes over the rim of his glasses, he said this...(I'm not even kidding).
"We don't have a medical term for "off". You're going to have to be a little more specific."
Raising my brow, I didn't know whether to stay or get up and leave. I decided to try and explain, "Sometimes my side hurts but it's not constant. We just had our third son so it's hard to tell since I'm with the kids and the baby nonstop."
Closing his folder, he simply stated, "Well, there's your problem. You just had a baby and you're chasing two boys around. You're just tired. Go home and take a nap."
Turning to leave, he scribbled something on my chart and headed for the door. I remained sitting, speechless.
A few days after that, the little voice inside my head continued to nag at me to find someone else. I located a female physician from a different practice and hesitantly made an appointment.
When she walked into the room, she smiled, extended her hand and introduced herself. Sitting across from me, she listened to my concerns, did a full check up and sent me to get some labs and an ultrasound of my side.
Within no time, I had a call to see a surgeon.
The following day after the visit to the surgeon's office, I was in for surgery to remove my gallbladder. The surgeon said that in all his years, he hadn't seen one so filled with gall stones. So much so, that gangrene had set in and it was ready to rupture, literally at anytime.
I hadn't felt so good in years once he removed it. Even better than my nap.
Currently, my dad is having lower back pain. It hit him out of nowhere and it's so bad that he can't walk. Mom took him to the ER where they said they could find nothing wrong. She took him to a doctor who had an x-ray done and the radiologist said, there was nothing he could do but to come back in a week if it still hurt.
Getting tired of the runaround, guess who I had mom take my dad to see yesterday? Yep. In one appointment, dad said that the doctor listened to him, respected his pain level and did everything she could to help. Dad's seeing a neurosurgeon this Tuesday to determine the next course of action and we're praying everything will be okay.
I understand how busy doctors are and how much they have to do in such little time. What I wish they understood though, is how important it is to listen not only to what they've learned in medical school and their journals, but also to their patients. Look into people's eyes and faces. Read more than their charts and truly hear what they have to say.
When you get a doctor who won't do that, what's even more important, is to listen to yourself and hear what that tiny voice tells you inside. You'd be surprised how right it usually is.
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