So, I met the new doc today…
I met my new doctor today.
I needed a new general practitioner. I had one, but I haven’t seen him for five or six years. My old OB functioned as my regular doctor, but he retired, and my new OB seems unwilling to do regular-doctor stuff. I have to get some health info, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels, or my husband’s insurance premiums will increase by 15%. The words, “I think you should see a doctor” virtually never come out of my husband’s mouth. But, when a cost increase of 15% was on the line, you can bet that he stayed on me until I had found a doctor and made my appointment.
You may recall that I pretty much just pulled her name out of a hat; I wanted a doctor who was on my insurance, who was a DO, who was a woman, and whose practice was close by to my home. This particular doctor fit the bill, so I made my new patient appointment.
I’m pretty particular about what I want in a doctor, though. I prayed — seriously — that God, who knows what is important to me about my healthcare providers — would see to it that this doctor was the right doctor, even though me choosing her was really a shot in the dark.
Doctor’s office staff is also important to me. The first good indication was the girl at the front desk: efficient, kind, polite, humorous, and thorough. Same with the “checkout” lady. The medical assistant or nurse (I don’t know which she was) was a rather odd: wry, a little bitter, quite mumbly. But, two out of three is great, in my book!
The doctor walked in, and I realized that she was not what I expected. 😮 For some reason, in my imagination, I had pictured an earthy, homely young woman in her late 20’s or early 30’s, with wavy brown hair, maybe a tad overweight. A very small part of this mental image was semi-logical, but most of it completely not. I did a little research, and my doc got her degree in 2001, so I had assumed she was young. She wasn’t particularly. I’m guessing she was in her early to mid 40’s. Her name, too, sounded semi-frumpy. But, she was very pretty, blonde, stylish, and in good shape, though none of it in an overwrought or super-flashy way. She was bright, inquisitive, direct, made great eye contact, spoke to me like I was a real person, listened well, didn’t blow off any of my concerns, and even had several “teaching moments” where she explained things in depth — perhaps too great of depth! Some of it went way over my head.
There were a couple of things of concern with my health — perhaps minor concern; I don’t know yet, and I won’t mention the specifics until we know more from bloodwork and a visit to a specialist. But her recommendations to me were this, “Take more calcium (1500 mg; I’d been taking 1000 mg) and more vitamin D (800 IU instead of my previous 400 IU), divided as evenly as possible into three doses, which you need to take with meals.”
I could have jumped up and down for glee.
She didn’t try to throw medication at me; she actually prescribed more supplements! She didn’t rush to judgement; she said, “Let’s wait for the results of the bloodwork and your visit to the other doctor” until any other health decisions are suggested.
Continuity of care is also important to me. I’ve met a fair number of doctors who act as if they’re the only doctor in the world, and who seemingly don’t care about the opinions of other doctors, which has the effect of me tripping ’round to all these different doctors, who apparently don’t talk with each other, so I have to tell my story over and over and over. Conversely, my new doctor specifically said that she wanted me to get my bloodwork done ASAP so that the other specialist could have it in hand when I go see him, and so that when I see her again, she’ll have both the bloodwork, and the opinion of the specialist to get a “well-informed” picture of what’s going on with me.
And the specialist she recommended? She said, “This is why I like either Doctor A or Doctor B. They’re both well educated, they’re both inquisitive, they’re both down to earth.” That’s not exactly what she said, but it was along those lines.
(What I mean by inquisitive is that, as a doctor, they look for the source of the problem, not just throw a pill at a set of symptoms. They’re like health detectives. Too few doctors, in my experience, are like that.)
I also mentioned in my health history that I have “presumed celiac disease” due to a cessation of x, y, and z symptoms on a gluten-free diet, and the fact that my son has it, and that autoimmune disease is rampant on my mother’s side. I told her that it was the opinion of both my former OB and my former general practitioner that I very likely had celiac disease. I’ve had other doctors quiz me suspiciously, “But you haven’t had an intestinal biopsy?” and fairly roll their eyes when I tell them that I haven’t. She, on the other hand, said that it sounded very likely that I had CD, and she wasn’t going to suggest, at this point, for me to do a gluten challenge, though she did suggest that I see a good gastrointerologist.
I told her that, at the time of Wesley’s diagnosis, I became very suspicious of doctors, due to a) the mishandling and missed diagnosis by Wesley’s pediatrician; b) the very bad interaction I had with an allergist who was supposed to be helping Wes, who was pushy, imperious, of no help whatsoever, and became combative when I questioned him; and c) and the nearly-as-bad “care” we received from the fake pediatric g.i. doc we saw for Wesley — he misadvertised himself as a pediatric gastrointerologist, and it turns out that he was just a “plain” pediatrician, and not a g.i. specialist at all. She didn’t listen to my story with an impassive face, then rise to the defense of bad doctors, taking offense that I should say something bad about a colleague, as has been the case before. SHE KNEW WHO I MEANT regarding the fake doctor. She named him.
The lone thing about which I was dissatisfied is that I mentioned several reasons for thinking that perhaps my testosterone is elevated, and she agreed that, yes, I likely had high testosterone, but that, in her opinion, there was nothing that could be done about it, and it was of no concern. Maybe high testosterone isn’t a HUGE issue, but I was hoping to learn something about it.
Still, all in all, I was very impressed. I know it’s just one visit, but how she doctored is exactly as I had hoped.
Now, I just have to get over my intimidation of those cute kitten-heeled mules and perfect hair. Ugh. But, I will do that. I’ll push through, because a good doctor is really hard to find, and I am absolutely relieved that it seems that I have found one.