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5 Types of Doctors You Encounter When You Live With Chronic Illness

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Throughout the years, we all encounter a variety of doctors. Some create traumatic experiences for us, while others feel like angels in the midst of our personal hell. Some leave us with more questions, while others answer the questions of a lifetime. We spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to differentiate and find the correct care team to best suit our needs. No matter where you’re at in your chronic illness journey, you’re bound to have come across most (if not all) of these doctors.

1. The Google Doctor (a.k.a. the “head-scratcher”)

It appears to be common for those of us with rare conditions, and even some not-so-rare conditions, for doctors to actually have to Google our symptoms or diagnoses. These doctors are often not versed in much more than basic illnesses and can leave us feeling like hopeless medical mysteries. Their main form of treatment can either be no treatment at all, or a million referrals to specialists. Referrals often have their benefits due to specialists having more knowledge on serious and chronic illnesses, but it can be frustrating to have to wait even longer for any direction or answer.

2. The “Minute Men (or Women)”

Another doctor many, many of us encounter is the one who is in far too much of a rush. They don’t allow you to finish explaining your symptoms, speak quickly and don’t offer much information and then rush out of your room so fast your head is spinning. Sometimes this is a matter of doctors being extremely booked up, but often this is the normal speed for them. This can make you feel like you weren’t listened to at all and are just being pushed out of the office on a conveyor belt. When the doctor doesn’t spend the time to obtain the full story, many major issues can be missed. There is also a matter of being given a treatment that doesn’t fit your problem simply because it was the quickest answer. Once a diagnosis is obtained, it’s often not explained in a way where a patient has much of an idea of what it actually is and what the next steps are. It’s not uncommon for us to be left to do the research on their condition for themselves.

3. The Ego

These doctors don’t appreciate patients who have done their own research. When they come in with an idea of what they may have, it seems to upset their ideals that they must know more than the general population. Patients may come in with prior medical knowledge that gets blown off or feel like their doctor treats them like they’re clueless. Although it is good to assume to an extent that most patients aren’t versed in medical terms or conditions so that you explain things properly to those who don’t, when the patient feels patronized it is too easy for them to shut down.

4. The “Drug Watch” Doctor

Anyone with chronic illness or chronic pain knows the difficulty of going to doctors who assume they are only after drugs. This seems to happen most commonly with emergency room doctors when patients come in with pain. Even patients that aren’t asking for pain medicine can be confused for drug-seekers, especially if there are no obvious causes or signs for the pain, or if the patient comes in frequently. For many of us, the emergency room is our only option. Specialists can take some time to get into and severe pain can strike at any moment. The emergency room generally doesn’t have a comprehensive medical history of the patient, which can impede proper treatment.

5. The Angel

Doctors that provide good quality treatment with a great bedside manner can be few and far between. “The Angel” doctor listens to everything you have to say, encourages you to be in tune and knowledgeable about your health, explores every avenue to diagnose properly and tailors treatments to your specific needs. It is one of the biggest reliefs for a patient to find a doctor like this. Once you find one, you should never let them get away if at all possible! A large variety of factors can go into a doctor losing their way during their career. They may not be bad people, but just may be overworked or unsure of how to treat certain issues. Coming across a doctor that has maintained their humanity and puts the patient first is absolutely priceless.

when you find a doctor who actually listens meme

Trying to find a doctor that fits your needs can be extremely difficult. Never stop searching for the right treatment or advocating for your health. “The Angel” that is best for your care is out there somewhere, and you deserve to find them.

Getty Image by demaerre

Originally published: March 22, 2018
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