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What makes Dr. Fabulous so great

May 4, 2011

I was having a conversation the other night with a friend about doctors, and ended up spouting a stream of positives about my GP. Since there’s been a fair amount of negativity on this blog lately I figured I would throw in some positivity by explaining what makes my doctor so great in my opinion. Hopefully you’ll recognize some of these features in your doctor; hopefully if you work in healthcare you’ll recognize some of these in yourself.

First of all, she’s blunt. A lot of people do not like this, but I would much rather a doctor that tells me what’s wrong and how to fix it rather than hold my hand and coddle me. I’ve heard other people say this about her, but intended it as an insult.

She always takes complaints seriously. I understand that anyone in healthcare can get jaded after seeing countless hypochondriacs and drug seekers, but she always gives her patients the benefit of the doubt. I know that if I go to her and tell her that I’m in pain, she will actually look for the cause of the pain instead of just automatically assuming it is made up. Any doctor could be this very easily with me, considering the fact that I’m young (24), have tattoos, wear black nail polish, all that sort of thing (the kind of things that make strangers assume my tremors are caused by drugs and/or alcohol).

She’s not afraid to admit when she can’t give me an answer. She has never hesitated to refer me to another physician, and has never tried to BS me into thinking she knows all by spouting off medical jargon. In fact, there have been times where I was astounded at how easily she words things in layman terms. Things I myself later on could not explain to others without using medical terminology.

She acknowledges that the patient is the one in charge of the care, not the physician. When tests are ordered, it is never “I’ll read the results and hopefully I’ll have the answer then”, it is always “Hopefully this will help US figure this out.”

She cares and she remembers. Before my initial visit with her for this condition, it had been about a year since I had seen her. It dawned on me recently why she asked me if I was married during that visit: the last time I saw her, I was engaged and my fiance had come with me to the appointment. A year later, she remember that minor detail completely unrelated to my health. When she told me that she was going to send me to the ER, she genuinely looked worried. When I went back for a followup and was in better condition, she could not get the smile off her face and looked like she was overjoyed when she said to me “you seem so much happier now”.

She’s not afraid to be human in front of her patients. I’ve seen her working with no voice, I’ve seen her frantically scratch at her ears and explain that allergies were driving her nuts. I’ve seen her ask another physician for advice about her allergies within earshot of patients. This leads to another positive about her:

I never feel like I am talking to someone higher and mightier than me. I’ve dealt with some doctors in the past that made it clear that they felt they were above their patients. This has never been the case with her. When I talk to her, I am talking to someone who has the knowledge and experience to help me through my situation, someone who actually wants to help me through it because it matters, not because they get paid to do it. Discussing my symptoms with her is more akin to talking to a wise friend than a stuffy professional. This makes it much easier to talk to her and makes me less likely to forget symptoms or omit them completely thinking that it is insignificant. Everything matters.

So ya….I am most definitely blessed that she took me on as a patient (which by the way, I didn’t even ask for, she offered it after I had been seeing her as a walkin patient despite being a patient of holier than thou physician). I may dread seeing some other doctors but it is a great relief to me knowing that even if it does not go well with the other doctors, I do have one that will back me up and make sure that anything that needs to get done, gets done. It’s because of that that I have been able to keep pushing through all this to get closer to a diagnosis. If I had stayed with my previous doctor, I would have no one really trying to get answers and I probably would have given up. It makes me a little glad to think that if the neurologist does find out what is wrong, odds are I will see my GP before I see him and she will be the one to tell me what is going on.

For the record I actually got tears in my eyes from writing this entry but I am so grateful to have her.

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