For those of you who grew up in the midst of chaos and uncertainty (and surely I was such a child, as my memoir reveals) – not knowing what to expect from one day to the next and not having what you saw or heard respectfully affirmed – what often remains well into adulthood is a hesitancy to trust your instincts. But that is a challenge well worth meeting, especially when it effects the care of your physical and/or mental health.
No doubt, you know people - as I do - who talk about how abused they feel when doctors speak to them condescendingly or refuse to speak to them at all, treating them with little or no respect ... and, by the time they've left such offices, they do so doubting their own sanity rather than the sanity (or at the very least the professionalism) of the physician.
Anyone who has experienced such feelings, please take heed: That is pain well worth sparing yourself! When someone else’s behavior sounds/ feels/appears not to be respectful or rational, then chances are it is not, even if that someone is a so-called professional.
While it is true that many physicians no longer have the luxury to spend as much time with patients as would best benefit the doctor/patient relationship, it is also true that if their focus is not on you, how you need to be heard and given information, but rather on which tests should be ordered and/or administered ... stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself how this person is making you feel. Then, if a follow up is done only when it's most convenient for the doctor ... even if that means keeping you - the understandably concerned patient - waiting an unnecessarily lengthy number of days to receive test results or prescriptions for needed medications, stop and think again. Re-evaluate this relationship, especially if you opt to call for results and are told that you are "badgering" the office staff.
"Keep the faith," but do take action! There are still dedicated and wonderful health care professionals – physicians/specialists in every area - psychotherapists, physical therapists and every other therapist - who will take your care seriously, return your concerned phone calls, and offer you respect. You never need to place your trust in professionals simply because they have a title or may have come highly recommended. You owe it to yourself to trust your instincts! Not being treated thoughtfully is not acceptable! Respect yourself and be selective when choosing anyone to help care for your body and soul! And if you are a parent of a child too young to make such a decision, be that child's advocate. Nothing will empower you more or ensure that you or your family are receiving the quality care each of us deserves!
Remember: you are the consumer! If any health care provider’s style doesn’t offer you comfort and confidence, trust that what you're feeling deserves attention. Leave that practice. There's no reason to walk away meekly or apologetically, especially if you've acted courteously. Tell the office that you have, regrettably, chosen to take your “business” elsewhere. Doing so may never cause the staff or the doctor to change, but it most definitely will release you from a situation that - as an adult - you have the privilege to change, something that many of us were not afforded as children, when so much was out of our control!
Here is something that is now in your control! Do some research and know that there is a good clinician out there waiting for your call!
On that note, I wish you all good health, good health care, and a great weekend!