So there I was, my head pounding, nose running, chest raspy with a cough that might, given another few heaves, actually remove one of my lungs. I was sick the way only sick people understand, dragging myself out of bed only – and I mean that literally – so that I could go to the doctor and get some drugs to make me better. Nothing else short of a world war would have seen me outside of the bed covers, and even then…
Everybody knows the torture that ensues when you’re sick and you have to sit in a waiting room full of other sick people, plus half a dozen raucous children, for half an hour or more. Eventually, when I was about ready to collapse, I finally got called up. I stumbled my way through to the doctor’s room.
He sat at his desk, side on to me. He didn’t stand, he didn’t open or close the door. He didn’t ask me to sit, nor say hello in any way. Instead, he looked up to a point somewhere around my left elbow and said, “What’s the problem?”
Now I was sick, okay? And sick people truly appreciate brevity. There’s nothing so dreadful as waiting for people to finish faffing around while you quietly die. So I answered, “I have a headache, blocked sinus, aching muscles-“
He didn’t give me time to finish. “Yeah, it’s a virus. I’ll give you a script. You need a note for work?”
Barely had my bottom settled onto the chair beside his desk when I was rising to my feet again, two pieces of paper clutched in my fevered hand. I was out the door and paying up my hard-earned money before I could really grasp what was going on.
It was only a couple of days later, when the foggy sponge that my brain had become finally cleared. I had spent a total of two minutes in with the doctor. He hadn’t asked me any further questions, hadn’t examined me, hadn’t found out if I had any other symptoms that might be related or not.
And he’d treated me like a side of beef on a conveyer belt. My health, my physical condition and my ongoing wellness were of zero concern to him. What’s worse however, was that I’d been going to that doctor for more than two years!
This experience set me thinking about a lot of things – in particular, about how important it was that I have a doctor who is genuinely concerned for my well-being. See, I don’t have a medical degree, so I can’t be anywhere near as proactive about my health as we all need to be. What I needed was to find myself a doctor who would be proactive, who would ask questions, who would listen and not judge. Most of all, a doctor who would be entirely and completely on my side.
- I’m looking for a really good doctor, one who actually has time for his/her patients. Do you have a doctor there like that?
- Is this doctor somebody who will be proactive about health issues I might not be aware of – such as suggesting I get my cholesterol checked?
- Is this doctor the kind of person who will listen to what I have to say about how my body feels, given I’m the only person who knows?
It took me surprisingly little time to find my good doctor. I got a yes to all those questions and then made an appointment.
When I finally met this doctor, I said straight out that this is what I’m looking for – a partner in my ongoing health and well-being., and she was overwhelmingly positive about it. I have to tell you, finding myself this good doctor is one of the best things I’ve ever done! Over the last three years she has made an invaluable contribution to both my health and my attitude towards my own physical state. I don’t care where I end up moving to, but I will always come back to see her as my doctor.
The thing is, when you have a major health issue – such as obesity – it is really important to put together a team who can not only provide you with help, but also support. Finding yourself a good doctor is the first, most important step in this process. My doctor sees my weight issues as part of a whole, and understands that obesity is a hugely complex problem that can’t be fixed with the wave of a magic wand. Because of that, she’s been very proactive in helping me find answers and paths I can explore, as somebody working entirely on my behalf.
When you’re surrounded by a harsh and unforgiving world, ready to blame you for a medical condition you have little control over, it’s wonderful to have a doctor who understands that, and who is in your corner, no matter what.
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