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The first step

April 5, 2011

I consider myself pretty lucky to have a really great family physician that is genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of her patients and does everything she can to improve the quality of their lives. Unfortunately there are too many people who aren’t lucky enough to even have a regular family physician. So if you’re having some health problems and aren’t sure where to turn, you can start by doing a doctor search on the website for the regulatory body of physicians in your area (trying googling ____ college of physicians, replacing the blank with your state or province). If you’re in Ontario (like I am), you can visit the website of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons and do a doctor search to find a doctor or specialist in your area that speaks your language.

Talking to your doctor about your symptoms can be a daunting task. Some people feel intimidated by doctors, others forget symptoms because of anxiety or wanting to please the doctor. One of the best things you can do to get yourself off to a good start is writing a journal detailing all your symptoms, what you were doing or feeling when they started, and what (if anything) helps relieve your symptoms.

When it comes to healthcare, a lot of people (even healthcare providers) make the mistake of thinking the doctor is the one in charge of the patient’s health. The person that is in charge is not the doctor, it’s the patient (or susbstitute decision maker, depending on the situation). No healthcare provider, regardless of their level of training, can force a treatment you don’t want, and none of them can help you if you don’t ask for it.

There’s no need to be shy. It’s your body, it’s your life. It’s up to you to take charge and get the ball rolling. It doesn’t have to be as scarey as you might imagine it will be, and you might be surprised by how understanding and caring your doctor can be.


From → Journal

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