Working with and finding good doctors will probably be the greatest challenge you face as a spoonie, mainly because the skill of your doctor will impact every part of your life, including your physical health, mental health, relationships, insurance claims, and any accommodations you may receive. A lot of folks are raised believing that doctors are somewhat of a magical breed: you go to them and they fix you, full stop. However, where chronic illnesses are concerned, the lack of research and understanding of the symptoms you’re experiencing will likely reveal how incorrect this belief is.
Doctors, like us, are fallible; they only have so much knowledge, and they can often be swayed by their own personal opinions. Because of this, choosing a good doctor—even if it means “dumping” a bad one—is absolutely vital. You may feel like or be told that you’re being too high-maintenance, but remember that you deserve to have a doctor who helps you and with whom you feel absolutely comfortable.
Signs of a Good Doctor
- Patient; listens well and encourages you to ask questions
- Validates your feelings and experiences; shows that they believe your symptoms are real
- Responsive to phone calls, emails, and requests
- Admits when they’ve reached the limits of their knowledge
- Communicates about what they’re thinking and the next steps they’re considering
Signs of a Bad Doctor
- Rushes you through your appointment
- Shows or says that they don’t believe you’re sick; invalidates your experience
- Tells you it’s all in your head
- Unresponsive to communication outside of appointment; forgets to fill prescriptions or process referrals
- Doesn’t look further than their own knowledge; doesn’t appear to engage in research or referrals
- You can never tell what they’re thinking or planning
This post was excerpted from the informational zine Chronically Badass.
About the Author:
Diane is a newly-diagnosed spoonie living in Portland, Oregon. She runs a blog Spoonie Living (spoonie-living.tumblr.com), and has also published a free, informational zine for spoonies called Chronically Badass (https://gumroad.com/l/chronically-badass).