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I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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Felicia Fibro - Life with fibromyalgia, EMPOWERED!

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The Doctor-Patient Relationship

The relationship that you have with your doctor may be one of the most important relationships you have, when you’re living with chronic illness. Your doctor is your go-to-person for all mysterious or even embarrassing health concerns you may have. Having one that you are confident in and comfortable with alleviates a great deal of unnecessary stress. It can also help you feel more empowered and optimistic about your future health. I know this personally because I have been on both sides. I’ve had a horrible doctor that, at one point, I was avoiding making appointments with (even when I needed them) and I’ve had amazing doctors that have been thorough, caring and willing to keep trying things until they find answers or I get relief.

There are many qualities I look for in my doctors. One of the first ones is that they are a good listener – they give me the chance to explain things, ask questions and offer suggestions. I also want to get a sense that they’re focused on my health – they want to see notes from other members of my health care team, they ask about issues I’ve mentioned at previous appointments, they look into my blood work and share the results with me, they make suggestions for overall health improvement. Another thing I want is a doctor who is keeping up with advancements in medicine – especially since I have syndromes that are currently not completely understood. I also need for them to be available – can get an appointment within two weeks and can get responses from them via phone or email in between appointments. After a few appointments I start considering how I feel we’re connecting – if I think we work well together. I know that for me to feel comfortable I need a doctor who seems to have a warm personality.

How is your relationship with your doctor? If you immediately know that you’re not meshing well I would HIGHLY suggest that you consider finding a new doctor. Although finding a new doctor is usually a tedious and stressful project, the end results ARE worth it! You (and mostly likely your insurance company) are paying them to provide you with a service. Why pay for something you don’t like? Especially when that something is a person who is partially in control of your health and quality of life!

What qualities do you look for in a doctor?

doctor

I look for a doctor that listens*

*Image Credit: from www.flickr.com by heipei



Comments

Comment from Meredith Gould
Time October 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I look for a doctor — and preferably a physician’s assistant — with a sense of humor and humility given that he/she probably does not have fibro and is basically clueless about what it is!
Meredith Gould recently posted: Wedding: Reception Prep

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

Oh, those are both great qualities to look for – thanks for adding them!

[Reply]

Comment from Shannon
Time October 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I’ve had the same doctor for years and years. I consider myself *very* lucky too. Where I live doctors simply are not taking new patients, period. Or they don’t want to take on patients with “serious” health issues. So that leaves many people with a walk-in clinic as their only recourse. In that situation it’s a crap shoot on who you get that visit – you don’t always get to see the same doctor.
Shannon recently posted: Aching hands, swollen feet

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

Those situations are so stressful. During the time I was trying to replace the really bad doctor that I mentioned I called many area clinics. I was shocked at how many clinic managers told me that they didn’t have doctors that had a decent amount of experience with fibromyalgia patients or were willing to keep up with new research on it if I started seeing them.

[Reply]

Comment from Jazz
Time October 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm

This has been a real source of stress and frustration for me- I have tried for 12 years to find a decent GP, and just found one 3 months ago. It took me 15 years to get a diagnosis- which was a tough road and truly unnecessary.

Having fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, and a few other associated conditions makes it difficult to see docs who don’t understand or keep up with current research.

I have been told by so many clinics that their docs wouldn’t see me because of these conditions that I complained to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, but they couldn’t do anything- just told me to I had to remind the doc of their obligations and to quote their own publications back to them. Really not OK.

We need empathetic and attentive docs when we have chronic conditions that come with such a bag of tricks. It’s imperative to have support and is invaluable in getting a handle on managing our health. That’s all we really want and need- to be heard and get a better handle on the situation so we can have a better quality of life.

It should be so simple… it’s just shocking that in this day and age it’s still difficult.
Jazz recently posted: lame interventions

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

I’m so glad that you’re with a good GP now! Isn’t it amazing the difference that it makes?! I’m hoping that with the advances that are starting to be made in understanding pain that the next generation of chronically ill won’t face as many of issues with patient care that we have.

It is interesting that the group told you to remind the doctors of their obligations. Although that might work in some cases, I think many physicians would be unhappy with someone telling them that and that might effect the care they’d give, even on a subconscious level.

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Comment from amynluv
Time October 22, 2011 at 8:40 am

Right now I’m just lucky to have a doctor that doesn’t refuse to see me because of my multiple health problems AND accepts Mediaid and Medicare. Getting a good doctor isn’t an option, but I sure as heck wish it was. I have so many other problems and no one to go to, so I don’t. I don’t know if the other problems will get worse by not going to a doctor or not, but I can’t afford to keep driving an hour and a half every doctor appointment. It’s scary.
amynluv recently posted: From November 2007

[Reply]

Felicia Fibro Reply:

Sorry to hear you’ve had such a hard time finding doctors that fit 3 outta 4 of your needs! I’m sure you’ve probably already done this, but just in case you haven’t – check with the hospitals/clinics you wish you could visit, sometimes they offer transportation accommodations for those who need it. *hugs*

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Comment from David
Time January 5, 2012 at 7:03 am

Being a good listener is probably the most important trait to have as a doctor or in my case as a physician assistant. This holds especially true when the patient is going through terminal cancer or other life threatening conditions. Emotional support is paramount and in palliative care, this should be emphasized even further.

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