Thoughts on Health – 2/15/2012 – A New Doctor
So, we decided as a family to take a big step. We left our previous doctor and switched to a new one. We had been increasingly unhappy with our previous doctor, and it finally reached the point where we felt that we were no longer getting good care. I asked around at work and got a solid recommendation from several people. I saw him for the first time yesterday and was quite pleased with the treatment. I actually liked my previous doctor quite a bit at first, but he moved to a new office and joined a new network, and the level of care has declined since. A couple of examples (without giving away any specific medical information) can illustrate this. First, both my wife and I felt that the doctor tended to not pay very much attention to our health at any regular basis, but when we did go in, they always seemed to find some huge, panic-inducing thing wrong with us. Yet, we would get sent to specialists recommended by the doctor and get basically a run around with little ever getting solved. So, it quickly came to seem either like the doctor was continually overreacting or we were getting sent to people who couldn’t figure out what the problems were. Second, the doctor dropped off the map on preventative care, with me not getting a physical or blood work unless I asked for it, despite being on several medications that should require at least yearly blood work. In fact, before I was diagnosed with diabetes, it had been over 4 years since my previous blood work, and it was only because I asked if I should have blood work done that anything was even done on that appointment. Third, getting in to see this doctor became increasingly like a cattle call, with 5-6 people sitting back in rooms waiting for the doctor to come by and spend a few minutes with them. And, he was the only doctor in the building, with only a nurse practitioner helping him.
The contrast with the new doctor could not be stronger. I was the first in the family to see him, although we will transfer everyone over. For one, I had a 1:30 appointment, and it turns out I was THE 1:30 appointment, with the next appointment not until 2:30. That is amazing compared to my previous doctor who had multiple people scheduled every 15 minutes. I saw the nurse for about 15 minutes and then the doctor and nurse together for another 20-30 minutes. We did a complete account of my medical history, working both off of paperwork I had filled out and from our conversation as well. Then, he proceeded to analyze and discuss each of my issues separately, spending a good amount of time on each, discussing them with me, giving his opinion on how things were being treated at the time and where treatment should go, and finally giving me time to ask questions about each. I’m not going to go into all of the different things, but since I have already written about diabetes here, I will use that as an example. My previous doctor had diagnosed me with diabetes, given me a glucose monitor, a prescription, and some pamphlets. This doctor sat down with me and talked extensively about diabetes and the problems associated with it. He also listened to my own account of what I had done (lost almost 30 pounds since September for example) and gave me guidance. He also said the first step he wanted to do was sign me up for a diabetes education program, something not mentioned at all by my previous doctor. He also said that he wanted to see daily glucose reports as well as getting blood work done every 3 months to keep on top of my condition. I came away feeling that I was in good hands in this situation. We also did both blood and urine work there, so that a baseline could be ascertained. It wasn’t fasting, but it gives some basic idea for the doctor to work from.
He also believes in preventative care more than my previous doctor. He insisted on a tetanus booster, as I was about 15 years out from my last one. I can’t thank him for that today, as my arm is very sore, and I’ve been feverish and achy for most of the day. But I do believe in preventative medicine overall. I was also impressed that when I left, the nurse, who had been there taking notes the whole time, handed me a printed out summary of what we had talked about, what the treatment plan was, and what else needed to be done. I know one visit is not enough to establish everything, but I really do feel in better hands. So, I can say that this was a very positive step, especially with the multiple chronic health issues that I have. I’ll keep reporting back in between the education coverage here, as health is becoming more and more of an important part of my life as well.