I have to see a dermatologist tomorrow. My first visit with this particular doctor, and I’m nervous. I hate first appointments. I am particularly worried about this appointment because I have this weird….thing that my rheumy couldn’t name. The internet yielded nothing. So I am going into this appointment with no clue what I may hear. I don’t like it.
Last week, I read a great blog about first dr appointments: Ambivalence. That blog led me to a terrific blog by a doctor who wrote about dealing with patients who have chronic illness: A Letter to Patients with Chronic Disease which gave me a whole new appreciation for doctors who deal with people like me.
These blogs raise good questions.
What is the best way to start a dr/patient relationship? How much information should you reveal at first visit? Should you go into an appointment with ideas about what’s wrong or is it better to go in totally ignorant? Is it a good idea to come in with a long list of questions or a short list? How much patience should we have with our doctors and when is it time to shop around?
As patients with chronic illnesses we are too often at the mercy of our doctors. Many of us require pain medications, but there are docs out there reluctant to prescribe them. Many of us have strange illnesses that require patience and lots of detective work, but there are docs out there who see the first negative test as an absolute negative. Many of us don’t react well to commonly prescribed meds, but there are docs out there who don’t want to try six more to see which works better. So, as patients, we must either subject ourselves to the whims of our doctors, or we must keep looking, which is a pain in itself.
I have been very fortunate with my rheumy, who has been great with questions and with giving information. Who has done the detective work and not cast me aside because of negative results. But my urologist is another story. He and his nurse were disorganized and not particularly helpful. I saw him three weeks ago and have not heard back from him; instead I got my results from CDI, who ran the ct scan. I know I should follow-up with him to see what we do next, but frankly, I don’t want to.
So, it will be interesting to see how things go tomorrow with the dermatologist. For once, I go in with absolutely no idea what I may hear. But hopefully, she’s a good detective. I mean, doctor.