Friday, March 13, 2009

Finally went to the doctor today regarding my interminable cough and runny nose. He palpated, he peeked, he pondered.

The diagnosis? Hold onto your hats... it's a "bad cold".

He did give me super sonic cough medicine, however, for which I am grateful.

Why do I like this guy? He's not loving and huggy like our beloved doctor in California. He's not a woman - I thought I'd only see a woman GP! He mumbles a little. So what is it that I like?

After some thought today, I realized that I like him because he treats me with respect, and acknowledges that I have a brain. He's the consultant/doctor I'm looking for. Today, he presented me with the facts - how to tell a cold from a bacterial infection, what he's seeing in his patients this month, how he feels about antibiotics. We talked together about what was best for me at that moment, with the arthritis and Humira and kids at home and terrible cough. He only claims to be an expert in what he's an expert in - basic internal medicine. He's not puffed up.

So I dug around online 'til I found these two websites about how to find a good doctor... and when to fire your doctor. Both of these sites from reflect what I've been learning about how I want to drive my medical care. I especially liked this list of questions (from the first article) to use when interviewing a new doc:
  • Inquire about the doctors' office hours
  • Inquire about availability in an emergency, or a back-up physician
  • Ask about the average wait during appointments
  • Ask the number of patients booked per hour
  • Ask if you can choose the specialist you wish to see
  • Assess your general rapport with the doctor during an interview with him
  • In selecting a surgeon find out how many times a year he performs a particular operation, then compare to national standards
  • Look for F.A.C.S. after the surgeons name indicating he is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
  • These questions seem very detailed, but let me tell you from experience, the devil is in those details. After reading the bit on when to fire your doctor, I'm even more certain that I made the right choice a few months ago when I hit the reset button on my faulty medical care.

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