Sunday, September 22, 2013

If I could ask my doctor for a few things. . .

Unfortunately, on occasion, doctors get to be patients.

Over the last several months, I have had the irritating experience of being a patient more than I ever have been in my life. Though my job as a family doctor is high-stress and often exhausting, I must say that I definitely prefer being a doctor to being a patient.

"Being a patient" means spending inordinate amounts of time rearranging my life to get to appointments, camping out in sterile waiting rooms reading stupid magazines, sitting half-naked in chilly uncomfortable exam rooms (still reading the same stupid magazines), standing in tortuous pharmacy lines late at night because that's when I find them most bearable, trying to remember to take my annoying  medication as prescribed, impatiently holding on the phone line waiting to speak to a real live person (who may or may not talk to me like I am a real live person), refreshing my email neurotically to see if the doctor wrote back yet, and-- perhaps most frustrating of all--just wondering and worrying is everything going to be okay?

During many of these special hours driving back and forth between being a doctor and being a patient, I have compiled a list of things I wish my doctor would do when I come to see her.

Here's my analogy: birth plans. My pregnant patients regularly come in during the last weeks of their pregnancies with a written document called their "Birth Plan".  A birth plan is an outline of what a woman (or a couple) want for their birth-- essentially a list of requests about what happens before the baby comes (e.g. music, lighting, opportunities for movement), when the baby is born (e.g. who cuts the cord, who identifies the gender), who the family wants in the room (mother-in-law, yes or no), who bathes the baby, whether they want the baby to get eye ointment, and any other range of requests that seem right to them.

Some providers roll their eyes at birth plans; some consider them offensive and silly. But I love to see what my patients write down-- because it gives me good insight as to what they actually value and what they fear. I also want to know what they want from me, so that I can do the best to give them the experience that they want to have.

I'll stop here and remind you that I am imperfectly human (my patients are already well aware of this fact). I run late. I don't always listen. I rush people more than I'd like. I don't always model the kind of care I would hope to have.  And, therefore, it's probably a really good thing to regularly be reminded about what it feels like to be a patient. After all, then I can be a better doctor. (In a similar vein , my medical assistant recently had a gynecological exam in which her provider warmed the speculum; it was such a positive experience that she is now a consistent speculum-warmer for our patients. Thanks for that!)

What follows, below, is my personal version of "A Birth Plan for A Routine Patient Encounter". I'm sure your version would be different. I'd be curious to hear, in fact, how it would differ.

For clarity, the first bullets are so critical, I think, if my provider couldn't manage them, I might just get up and leave (naked  butt, ugly gown and all). The second part is my dream state, my fantasy, my paradise, my utopia of relationship-based health care.
Doesn't matter if I come to see you because it hurts to pee or because I broke my wrist or because I am feeling down. At bare bones minimum, please, provider, when I come to see you about whatever medical issue I deem important enough to be here:
  • Be kind
  • Take a good history
  • Think logically
  • Speak in language I understand
  • Explain clearly what you are thinking and why
  • Order the appropriate lab tests and imaging studies to evaluate my diagnosis
  • Interpret results of those tests and studies correctly and in a timely matter
  • Help me understand the results and how they influence your initial diagnosis
  • Develop an appropriate treatment plan
  • Evaluate how that treatment is working (or not working)
  • Re-evaluate and start again.
And because you already do of all the above, dear provider, and because you are not the random urgent care person that I am only going to see once and never again, provider, now, can you try being even better than a good clinician? Can you try to treat me like you want to be treated? Or even better, like you want your child to be treated?


1-Sit down. Yes, sit down. Take your hand off the door knob, grab a seat and sit with me. When you stand over there by the sink with your arms crossed across your body, you make me feel like I am contagious or dirty or risky. When you hover over me while I lay vulnerable on the table, you make me feel small and powerless. I know you're busy--your staff already made that clear-- so am I. Sit down, please, and take a moment to talk to me, eye-to-eye. Person to person.

2-Listen to me, particularly the subtleties of me, the parts of me that are not the same as the last patient you saw. I am unique and special. No one knows my subtleties better than me, so if you don't stop and listen, you are missing out on a serious opportunity. This is not just about not interrupting me (we doctors have all been quoted the studies that, on average doctors wait 23 seconds before they interrupt their patients). This is about not talking and actually listening.

3-Remember my name. And if you don't remember my name, act like you do. When you remember my name, I feel immediately like a person. And feeling like a person makes our interaction so much better than me feeling like a number and you feeling like  a computer.

4-Call me by name. See #3. I am Veronica, after all, that's what you should call me.

5-Apologize for leaving me half-naked in a room for thirty minutes (or 3 minutes that felt like 30 minutes) because it's the nice thing to do. If you were sitting like me instead of standing there like you, you'd be uncomfortable too. The rooms are breezy, the paper gowns are humiliating, and everyone knows I've been waiting longer than planned. I do know you're busy, and I had a lousy magazine to read, but an apology from you means the world. It makes me feel respected.

6-Ask about my 3-year-old.  He's the most important thing on my planet. My entire world revolves around him. I spend every possible moment with him, and this visit replaces that time. Plus, when you ask me about my son, it shows you actually care who I am when you ask. You don't have to remember all the nitty-gritty details of my life. But remember this one, it's the most important to me.

7-Acknowledge that I drove 2 hours for this 15 minute appointment. This ties back into #3. If you remember my name, you may also remember that I live sixty miles from this clinic. And not only was the traffic on the bridge horrible but it took me 20 stressful minutes to find a parking space that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. So ask me about the traffic or parking or the seventeen other things I had to juggle to make this happen.

8-Touch me. I don't care if it's a quick hug, a shake of my hand, or a pat of my shoulder. But please do something more than put that cold metal thing in my vagina. Touch is healing.

9-Ask me if I have any questions and act like you actually want to answer them. If I don't have one right on the tip of my tongue, don't dash out the door in relief; stand there for ten whole seconds to see if I can come up with one. Because once you disappear, you are virtually impossible to get a hold of. You have a battalion of folks standing guard in your honor.

10-Finish the visit with a healing sentiment, or at least something encouraging. Let me give you some examples. I am not asking for poetry: "I am sure this is going to work out okay" or "I really feel you are going to get better" or "I will be thinking about you this week". You don't have to lie to me or give me false hope. But you can encourage me. And the sentiment you leave me with, sets my tone for my two hour trip home. And for the next two weeks. And until I see you again.


  1. Thank you for sharing, for articulating so clearly, this profound and also "everyday" experience. Well said.

  2. How to Order Prescription Drugs Safely Online | Where to Order Prescription Drugs Safely Online.
    Where to Buy Research Chemicals Online | Buy Barbiturates Online | Buy Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Online

    We supply good quality Benzodiazepines, Pain Medications, Anxiety Medications, Relief Medications, Insomnia Medications, Weight Lost

    Medications, Stimulants, Opiate/Opioid, Research Chemicals, etc...
    We ship with the United States and we do ship worldwide as well with tracking number provided.
    We now offer 30% Discount, Contact us or Check out Our stocks and Prices using the details below:

    Text: +1 (706) 873-1642,
    Whatsapp: +1 (706) 873-1642,
    Wickr Id: jasonstewart


    - Buy With Bitcoin or Other Cryptocurrencies.
    - Good quality Chemicals.
    - Good and affordable prices.
    - 100% Money Back Guaranteed!
    - Fast and Reliable delivery With Tracking Available!
    - Various shipping option (Overnight and Airmail).
    - Buy Direct and Save Time and Money!
    - 100% Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed!

    ** Medications **
    We do sell meds such as:

    - Buy Oxycontin Online
    - Buy Roxycodone Online
    - Buy Rohypnol Online
    - Buy Opana Online
    - Buy Ativan Online
    - Buy MSContin (Morphine Sulfate) Online
    - Buy Klonopin Online
    - Buy Phentermine Online
    - Buy MDMA (Pills and Powder form) Online
    - Buy Percocet Online
    - Buy Lortab Online
    - Buy Norco Online
    - Buy Codeine Pills Online
    - Buy Suboxone Online
    - Buy Methadone Online
    - Buy Valium Online
    - Buy Hydrocodone Online
    - Buy Desoxyn Online
    - Buy Xanax Online
    - Buy Dilaudid Online
    - Buy Actavis Promethazine Codeine Purple Cough Syrup Online (16oz and 320z)
    - Buy Ambien Online
    - Buy Adderall Online
    - Buy Ritalin Online
    - Buy Vicodin Online
    - Buy Ketamine Online
    - Buy Soma Online
    - Buy Viagra Online
    - Buy Dexedrine Online
    - Buy Mandrax Online (Quaalude)
    - Buy Fentanyl Online
    - Buy Demerol Online
    - Buy Lyrica Online , etc.
    For more visit:

    ** Barbiturates **
    - Buy Nembutal (Pentobarbital Sodium) Online
    - Buy Seconal (Secobarbital Sodium) Online
    - Buy Luminal (Phenobarbital) Online
    - Buy Butisol (Butabarbital Sodium) Online
    - Buy Pentothal (Thiopental Sodium) Online
    - Buy Brevital (Methohexital) Online
    - Buy Donnatal (Belladonna and Phenobarbital) Online
    - Buy Mebaral (Mephobarbital) Online
    For more visit:

    ** Research Chemicals **
    - Buy Etizolam Online
    - Buy Ketamine Online
    - Buy 25I-NBOMe Online
    - Buy 3-MMC Online
    - Buy Mephedrone Online
    - Buy Ephedrine Hcl Online
    - Buy Esctacy Online (MDMA)
    - Buy A-pvp Online
    - Buy Crystal Meth Online
    - Buy JWH 250 & 180 Online
    - Buy Mdpv Online
    - Buy Mexedrone Online
    - Buy Bk-2C-B Online
    - Buy Ethylone Online , etc....
    For more visit:

    ** HGH and Steroids **
    We do sell HGH and steriods such as:

    - Buy Sustanon Online
    - Buy Winstrol Online
    - Buy Anavar Online
    - Buy Clomid Online
    - Buy Dianabol Online
    - Buy Testosterone Online
    - Buy Omnadren Online
    - Buy Dianabol Online
    - Buy Trenbolone Online
    - Buy Deca Durabolin Online
    - Buy Riptropin Online
    - Buy Jintropin Online
    - Buy Igtropin Online
    - Buy Hypertropin Online
    - Buy Hygetropin Online
    - Buy Ansomon Online
    - Buy Kigtropin Online and variety Steroids available.
    For more visit:

    ** Marijuana strains **
    - Buy AK-47 Online
    - Buy Og Kush Online
    - Buy Sour diesel Online
    - Buy White Widow Online
    - Buy Hindu Kush Online
    - Buy Blueberry/Blackberry Kush Online , etc
    For more visit:

    Other good stuffs like:
    - Buy Potassium Cyanide (KCN) Online
    - Buy Ketamine Online
    - Buy MDMA (Ecstasy) Online
    - Buy Carfentanil Online

    Are also available. Just have a look at our website for more products, feel free to have a look:


    Text: +1 (706) 873-1642,
    Whatsapp: +1 (706) 873-1642,
    Wickr Id: jasonstewart

  3. We are one of international premium providers of 25 I-NBOMe , 2-FMA , 4-MEC , 5-fur-144 , 5-mapb for sell , A-php crystal , Actavis cough syrup 16 oz ,Actavis cough syrup 32 oz , AK-B48 , Amphetamine Speed paste , Buy A-pvp , AM-2201 , Ecstasy Party Pills , Dibutylone Crystal , global Temazepam , High quality Heroin for sell , mdpv crystal , Methamphetamine Ice crystal Crystal , Liquid Ecstasy , mdma crystal , Methoxetamine , Pentedrone , *Pang Baduy*-22 , Methylone Crystals … Discrete Overnight Shipping within usa to Australia, Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden ,spain, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Estonia etc .We are proud of offer high quality Research chemicals product, one of most reliable company on the market and get satisfied feedback from our customers.Our prices include registered air mail delivery. Delivery time 2-3 days. ..we sale both in wholesale and retail prices.Please visit us below for info


    E-mail :

    Call: +1 (614) 245 5317 (usa/Canada)

    whatsapp: +1 (614) 245 5317

    Link: Buy Fentanyl online

    Link: Buy Pure Grade Heroin online

    Link: Buy Cocaine Powder online

    Link: Buy Ghb powder for sale