I hate to say it, but I hate going to my doctors. 9 times out of 10, my doctor visits are either traumatizing, my feelings/symptoms get invalidated, or pills and medication are being thrown at me. I really just dread going to the doctor now because it gives me anxiety, but my health is so important to me. Plus with covid, my appointments have been worse because they are all telephone or video visits and it feels like my doctor is just trying to get off the call.
I know I should advocate for myself, but I feel like I shouldn't be at war with my doctor. They should always be on my side. Does anyone have advice on how to have a good relationship with your doctor(s)? Or are others in the same boat as I am? It sucks feeling like I can't talk about my health to the one person that should care.
In the same boat as you @GoodbyeVal, all my doctor visits are pretty terrible. Yesterday I asked my doctor about testing for pcos. She said "testing wouldn't matter, it's all patient regulated so sure, you have it". Sooo yeah, feeling left high and dry by my doctors. I really don't know how to create better patient/doctor relationships especially if the doctor already doesn't care.
@Tiffany_L, maybe you have some advice on how to have better relationship with your doctor?
I saw a doctor for really mysterious digestive symptoms that, if I had to guess, are potentially connected to an undiagnosed autoimmune condition 🤷♀️ I was in a place where I was really depressed after doing months of research and not arriving at any answers. My doctor didn’t recommend any further tests after my blood panels came back normal. So her solution was to prescribe me antidepressants…..OK fine, I welcome antidepressants to alleviate my depression, …but why doesn’t my doctor want to attempt to uncover the root cause of my illness? Definitely did not feel heard. She had no desire to dig deeper to find out what was going on. Definitely resonating with @GoodbyeVal like they were trying to “deal with me” as quickly as possible. Maybe I need a functional medicine doctor or an Ayurvedic specialist? Or a more “boutique” approach rather than my HMO?
Right there with you @aquagal49! I'm not sure why doctors don't seem too interested in solving the root problem. But they are more than happy to prescribe medication for "easy" solves. I think you may be onto something with hmo doctors. I hate to write them off but my experiences have been awful and I don't think my doctors have even noticed.
I'm so sorry you had this experience! I can't speak on the medical perspective and plan, but finding the root cause in physical therapy is always top priority for me. HOWEVER I know based on clinic treatment styles and availability, what you truly get might be based on the diagnosis insurance sees and is reimbursing for - that's really common in busy PT clinics and possibly HMO settings too. I think a good functional medicine doctor or at least a second opinion would be a wise choice for your own peace of mind. Boutique style clinic would likely have someone who likes to spend more time with you too... at least that's my hope. Feeling heard about your concern is always a better point to end a visit on than being dismissed!
This is so heartbreaking to me because I know exactly what you must be feeling. As a physical therapist, I often get patients who have been dismissed, felt like their pain is invalid, or like they aren't a real human with needs sitting in front of another human who is supposed to help. It's a little easier in the rehab world to "shop around".. but asking friends and family for recommendation on a Doc with good bedside manner can be helpful. Also before making an appointment, trying your shot with the front desk and openly saying you'd love someone who has worked with cases like yours, looking up reviews (with a grain of salt of course), or being open with your doc if you can about your needs. "I'm feeling a little __ about ___" ideally will ring a bell in their head to turn up the empathy a bit. I know we're all tired from the pandemic and zoom calls, but there's absolutely no room for being a heartless person in healthcare right now. You should be able to communicate anything and everything to the person in charge of your care, its practically dangerous if you can't share important details because of a fault on their end. I'm so sorry you all have had a rough experience!! (I'm extremely passionate about this 😅)
I have type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed as an adult (56), which is rare. The first endo I was referred to was a condescending jerk who couldn’t explain anything to me and was very unhelpful. I connected with the (very active) diabetes online community and was referred to other endos who listened to me and helped. Most importantly (and relevant to you), I was taught that you need to change your mindset- they work for you, and you are the driver. As a consumer, you have a choice of which practitioner to use, and you can fire those who don’t help (at best) or make you feel lousy (at worst). You have the power in the relationship! So dump them.
As a physician myself, I understand the dilemma you are in but let me give you a little insight, if I may. Physicians in traditional medicine are stuck in a broken medical system, but they only know what they have been taught (which is already alot) and they want to know the answer. However, if there is not a straightforward answer with what they have taught and they don't know how to guide you, then some physicians have a hard time communicating that situation and it is hard to admit that to patients.
As physicians, we naturally want to know the answer. For those physicians who are willing to dig deeper and investigate and communicate with other professionals, it can be difficult if they work in a typical medical environment that limits their time with each patient and essentially breeds physician burnout. Patients and physicians can be victims to the medical system, which does not bode well for patients' well-being. Every physician is human and there are many nuances or reasons as to why you do not feel validated by your physician.
Sometimes it may be good to say to a physician, "I don't expect you to have all the answers, but is there someone you would suggest to take a different look at my situation or perhaps help me help myself?" This can help the ego not get on the defensive when they already feel like they do not have anything else to offer. For some physicians, just ruling out "red flags" (serious or urgent conditions) may be what matters the most to them in the grand scheme of things.
There are some physicians who will overcome their own environmental obstacles and fight for you despite their burnout. However, I would suggest Direct Primary Care (not necessarily concierge medicine) as this is a grass roots effort for primary care physicians to get back their autonomy, drop costs for patients (wholesale meds, labs, etc.), and create unlimited monthly visits within a modest monthly cost. Whether you have insurance or not, the cost of a monthly fee to support these primary care physicians provides much more value than any insurance company could for chronic ailments or overall wellness.
If you can let me know your city/state, then I will see if some of my connections can lead to a possible direct primary care option for you.
Melissa Cady, DO
I agree with all of the above and resonate with everyone's frustrations about our current medical system. As a functional medicine doctor, I hear this often when people first come to me. That feel unseen and unheard by their physician. That their lab values are normal so its all in their head or here is a medication. It is all incredibly invalidating and not helpful to getting to the root cause.
At the same time, I believe most doctors mean well and are limited by time and reimbursements constraints that have nothing to do with actually taking care of people. If you are not resonating with your current doctor, I always encourage people to seek other opinions and fire them if necessary. Sometime sit is best to walk away from an environment that is not serving you. This is about YOUR health. Functional medicine is excellent at getting to the root cause of chronic conditions. Unfortunately it is often outside of insurance. You can find more affordable options at places like Parsley Health (where I currently see patients) and we are working towards accepting insurance soon to become even more accessible and provide the type of healthcare you DESERVE.
Hope this helps and thank you for asking such a relevant question!
@GoodbyeVal, functional medicine adds another dimension of investigation and solutions; however, functional medicine has a vast array of different clinicians with various levels of experience. Sometimes, excessive labs or supplements are over-emphasized and can be costly. Functional clinicians can be non-physicians or physicians from other areas of the medical field. It takes patience to find the right fit. Any clinician can miss something important if they do not know to look for it. There is value to blending an understanding of traditional, functional, integrative, etc., but the most important thing is that you get the opportunity to be heard and validated before moving on to deciphering the issues. Wishing you the best!
@GoodbyeVal Unfortunately, this seems to be the new norm with any kind of medical Doc. I even have men that come to me with very clear issues that the doc's were over looking due to the lack of concern and "qiuck fix" approach. I've had women in their early 30's, with clearly visible parasites, told that she was going into early menopause and had IBS. Thank goodness we were able to find the parasites and address the gut dysbiosis without the hormones and other drugs that wanted to put her on. I have many, many cases of this type of stuff. Even misdiagnosed auto-immune disorders. Bottom line, if you're going to stay with the modern medical route, be very clear and almost demanding that they take the time to hear you. And, keep looking if you don't like the answers your getting.