Musings of a Medical Zebra

A Zebra Speaks

Be Reasonable

I hear complaints about doctors all the time. They usually come up when I mention how frequently I end up at my internist’s office. If you think your doctor is incompetent or isn’t the right doctor for you, that’s one thing. However, it seems like a lot of people don’t actually have real problems with their doctors. What they do have is unreasonable expectations.

I could write about these various unreasonable expectations at some length, but that’s not my plan. I actually just wanted to talk a little bit about the unreasonable expectation I hear most often: lateness.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard people complain about their doctor being late for an appointment.  I’m not necessarily thrilled when my doctor walks in late.  However, I do understand that things don’t always go as planned in life — I think if anyone could possibly understand this, it would be me — so I’m willing to cut him some slack.  I know he’s doing what he can to maintain his schedule, while providing the best possible care for his patients. I also know that if he spends an extra ten minutes with other patients because they needed it, he’ll do the same for me if I need it — and I usually need it.

I think that’s a reasonable expectation. I also think it’s reasonable to expect my doctor to listen to me, treat me with respect, and do everything within his power to diagnose/treat my condition. Like me, my doctor is human. I don’t have answers to everything in my area of expertise, so I don’t expect my doctor to have all the answers in his area of expertise. I do have the ability to listen to someone when they come to me with a problem and treat the person with respect.  I also have the ability to ask others for their opinions, consult the internet, textbooks, etc., if I don’t have an answer. I expect nothing less from my doctor.

I encourage everyone reading this to do some reflection. Think about what expectations you have of your doctor, and whether or not they’re reasonable.  If they are, great. If they aren’t, come up with a new set of expectations and stick to them. I think you’ll be pleasantly surpsied by the outcome.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 12:12 pm and is filed under EDS Stuff, Misc. Thoughts on EDS & Chronic Illness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Be Reasonable”

  1. avatarKali
    5:50 pm on June 15th, 2009

    I agree with you – knowing what your doctor can and can’t do for you and using that knowledge to set up reasonable expectations is vital to having a good doctor-patient relationship.

    I am very fond of my GP because she is more than willing to admit when something seems out of her depths and she sends me to a specialist. It means that other than my thyroid, she does refer me out for most of my issues…but I’m a fellow person with EDS, so I’m complicated and I think I probably get the best care this way. She also never tries to rush me out the door, though she will set limits on how much we try to address in one appointment. Sure, her office is never perfectly on time – but I am always treated well there.

    I have had to deal with doctors who were worth getting rid of – people who did not listen to me and would not allow me to have input in my treatment plan. But a little lateness? Well, I expect it and bring something to read or work on.

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