Do You Need a New Doctor?

by francy Dickinson                   

Dear Francy: I have tried and tried to get through to my doctor and he is always too busy to take a call. He rushes us through appointments and he’s rude when I ask a question about my husband. What can I do?

Then move on to another doctor. You know we are all stuck in a mental state of instant respect for every physician we meet. But they are just people, some can connect with one person and not another. Some are specialists in their field and know nothing out of their field and then there are the gems. A gem doctor is one that simply listens, expresses interest and tries to find information to diagnose a problem properly. They have a ego that allows them to share the information with you, the patient, or with another specialist in the correct field. Those Gems are to be kept in your back pocket and appreciated. The rest can be sorted through and only used on a limited basis.

If you find that you are now in a new place with your health and you need to have more input from your doctor and you are not getting it – try this before you make a move.

  1. Tell the doctor directly or in a letter that you really need to understand his instructions for you, or his ideas about the diagnose and treatment of your condition. Tell him you are going to come in (date of your appointment) and you will be asking him about — then list the questions you have about your (or your senior’s) health.  I love this idea of a letter to express things to the doctor in a short one page that he would not have time to find out during your appointment. This pre-appointment letter could be the answer to a doctor working well for you, or you moving to a new doctor.
  2. Take notes when you are at the doctors. Do not think you will remember things, you will not. If you live alone, ask a family member or friend to come with you and take notes. This way your questions and the doctor’s answers are written down for you to review. Makes life so much easier to really hear and understand what is being said during an appointment.
  3. Write down all the questions you have about your reaction to things in the last two weeks before the appointment. Write down I have been dizzy since I started taking this new drug, I have had too many runs to the bathroom to live comfortably, I have had to really hold on to a friend when I walk out of the house. This way he can review your list and deal with it.
  4. Finally, remember that each doctor has a personality and it may not match yours. There is nothing wrong with dealing with a doctor with airs that seems above you, if he/she is the only specialist in your town. But if you live where there are other choices, go for it and move on to another doctor.

How to find a new doctor in your area?

  1. I always start witha  friend and any professional in health, like a nurse that I might personally know. They know the good doctors and know who to call.
  2. Call your insurance company. Many insurance companies have a nurse help line that is FREE and it is a great service for easy questions. You might have to use the insurance company’s directory of doctors, if so, have that with you as you call. Ask the nurse if there is any actual way to know if one doctor is used by more of their insurance clients than another. They will help guide you.
  3. The Internet is so great for this sort of thing these days. I love to look up pharmacy questions and questions about health and get good answers and my favorite site for this is WebMD.
  4. Here is the site listing for the page that you can search for doctors in your area   You will have to sign in for this information, do not be afraid to do that and keep the sign in information written in a spiral notebook for your health questions.They have their home work and the doctors are listed with their specialities and experience.
  5. Call your main or primary care physician and ask the nurse for a recommendation for a specialist, if she gives you the one you are trying to leave, ask for another name on her list.
  6. When you call the new doctor’s office, have a list of questions ready. Do not be afraid to ask them.
    “May I ask a few questions? Where did the doctor get his speciality degree? Does he treat patients with (your problem) often? What has his success with those treatments/surgery been?”
    I am sure that you think those questions are rude, but they are questions you have to ask. Maybe the doctor specializes in just what you have, or maybe he doesn’t. If you have done some work on the Internet and found out that the new treatment for prostate cancer is audio waves/ask if he uses that procedure. After all, you want a doctor that is open and up to date.

Get as much information as you can on your own. If a doctor tells you what you or your loved one is diagnosed with (?) then it’s your turn to study. Go to the Internet and hit Google and enter in the name of your condition. Find out what others are doing to control the condition, the different medications people are using and the procedures that are being used to treat it. Get a full understanding of what is wrong and what part of your body is not working. Find out if a good diet would help you get strong, find out if taking vitamin C in higher doses is good before your surgery to boost your body or other supplements are working for others with the same condition as yours. Learn as much as you can. Then when you go to the doctor you have your questions all written in your notebook and you are ready to really tackle each health challenge as a team- You, your loved one, your doctor, medications, supplements, proper diet, and medical procedures. It all has to work in harmony and that is up to you to make it happen.

Do not wait for a doctor to be perfect, try a nurse practioner for your everyday care. They are great to work with and easier to get into to see. They will send you to specialists for challanges out of their range. They will give you medications for your everyday issues and you will find they give you that care giving side that they have gathered in their many years of nursing.

I hope this has helped you with ideas. Please do go to my website at for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior’s home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care, I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen when ever you have time.

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