I admit it, I’m probably the world’s worst patient. If I look at all the advice online of things I should be doing as a patient, I can easily come to the conclusion that I am a terrible patient. So, why am I terrible patient?
- I have made no effort to get contact info for my doctors. Actually, I didn’t even know this was possible till it came up in a recent #patientchat on twitter. It was one of those “What!? You can do that?” moments. Honestly, I’ve never had a doctor give me any sign that it was ok to contact them beyond the bounds of their office (calling during office hours and leaving a message, unless it’s an emergency in which case they may call me back after hours to tell me to go to the ER). I do have one of my doctors (my Fibro “doc”) on Facebook. But, even with that I wouldn’t have dreamt of hitting him up that way for an actual question.
- I don’t keep a health journal. I’ve posted about this before. Basically, I’ve found that for me personally focusing on how I feel each day, and what hurts (or doesn’t) just increases my pain by forcing me to think about it. I’d rather not think about it. This does leave me a little stranded at times when I go to a doctor because I don’t have these records. The truth is that this isn’t totally true… I have two apps that I use to keep track of a few key symptoms. I track my migraines (at least the ones that are bad enough to make me take something) and I track a handful of symptoms on a daily basis (just at the end of the day I go through an app and check off that yes I had that symptom). These are related to a couple of long-term ongoing issues (the abdominal pain and the neck/shoulder pain) that have yet be resolved.
- My medication list is a mess. I try to keep my list updated via the drugs.com app, but most of the time I find I’m updating it in the drs office during the visit, as they are asking me for updates. Even then with so many supplements there’s a good chance they aren’t all listed.
- I’m usually completely unprepared for a visit. I know I should go in with notes and questions ready to go, and sometimes I do, but most of the time, I just go in. Granted, these days most of my visits are routine check ups, but there are times when I really should have prepared questions. I’ve found that even when I do go in with prepared questions and a plan, that’s when I get hit with the dr who has no time to listen who looks at me (or rather doesn’t look at me at all) like I’ve got two heads for even daring to ask a question. Then I just get the hell out of his office and go find a new dr.
- I doctor shop – Ok, this doesn’t really make me a bad patient, except in the eyes of too many doctors. But, in reality this is probably my saving grace as a patient. If I find that a dr isn’t listening to me I go find a new doctor. I keep trying until I find one who will listen. Of course, when I do find him/her it often takes me a bit to convince them that I’m serious when they see that I’ve been through so many before them. I will say this, I now have several doctors that I really trust and who I believe do listen to me, so I’m not shopping nearly as much these days. I guess now I just need to get their contact info so I can send them what I find and ask them questions between visits. I’m thinking the ability to send a dr info we find, and ask questions between visits, might actually cut down on visits…oh wait, that would cut down on their income…. I guess that might be why they don’t want to give out their contact info.
So, what makes you a bad patients?