A day in the life

A Letter To My New Primary Care Doctor

Dear Doctor:

Allow me to introduce myself since, even though I had a meet and greet appointment with you, you did not take the time to actually talk to me about anything other than to question the drugs I am on.  I am a 54 year old woman.  I have two grown children and one grandchild. I have not had an alcoholic drink in 31 years and I quit smoking 4 years ago.  I am married to the same man for 29 years and am quite happy.  I have had three doctors in my adult life, you being number three. The only reason I am still not with number two is life forced me to move to another area. Otherwise I would still be with her. She was kind, caring, attentive and most importantly she listened to me.

Those drugs that you question with a bit of concern in your voice, was because I was diagnosed with emphysema 5 years ago. I was sick for quite a while. Those drugs helped me out.  While you question everything my previous doctor had done, including the specialists, I was sitting there thinking either you are wrong or my other doctor was wrong. Then I remember, you don’t know. You don’t know that I have worked hard the last four years to get to the point where I didn’t need those drugs. I have changed my lifestyle, what I eat, how I exercise, everything. If you had  spent more than 5 minutes with me,  Doctor, you would know that I have had legions praying for a complete healing of my lungs.  You would know that it was through   my sheer determination that the new pulmonologist said my breathing test came back normal, if it wasn’t for the CT no one would know I had a problem. While I am happy to be off the drugs that was the pulmonologist and mine decision not yours. So while you worried about the drugs I was on, I worried that perhaps you were passing judgement. What a weird feeling to have in a doctor’s office. I do not like feeling as if I am foolish and you made me feel like a hypochrondiac with a serious disease. I know you see many folks like me, but I am the only one of me, so I tend to want to be as healthy as I can.

Recently I had an appointment with you for what you deemed a cold.  I got a lecture about how long a cold lasts and that many sinus infections are due to a virus. Also since I didn’t know if I had a fever you decided I didn’t need antibiotics. Dear Doctor if you had listened to me, you would have heard me say that I was producing a lot of mucous and that even a cold lessens after 14 days.   Yes, I know you paused long enough for me to get a sentence out,  but you were not really listening. I insisted on the antibiotics and you gave me a lecture on some kind of diarrhea one can get with the antibiotic you gave me. That leads me to two questions. One if that drug can do that why not prescribed a different one. How many antibiotics are out there? I did try to tell you what doesn’t upset my stomach. I have trouble with these things and they tend to make me vomit.  You either did not listen or felt that since I insisted on them that I deserved to be miserable.  This brings me to question two. I am not a doctor. I understand that you went to a lot of school to become a doctor and that you have knowledge I don’t possess. BUT, big but,I am, again, 54 years old. I have lived in my body for that long. I understand its quirks and having lived with respiratory problems all my life. I know a sinus infection when I have one.  My history of sinus challenges is in my records, did you read?  I even had operation to alleviate some of the problems (it did thank you).I am also aware that overuse of antibiotics is  a “bad” thing and that you freaked when you saw I was on low dose long term antibiotics for about a year.  The pulmonologist who prescribed them did so for a reason. I also have not taken them in months.

I am not happy with you and will probably be changing my primary care doctor.  I am the boss of me. I want a doctor who doesn’t lecture me and tell me I am wrong, or tell me that my previous medical doctor did it wrong.  I want a doctor who is a partner in my healthcare not someone who spends five minute as a quick answer and then dismisses me. Yes I miss my old doctor. She was my partner; she asked questions and not just ones that she read in the company wide memos.  She understood my goals and actually spent more time talking to me, face to face, than on the computer.   That’s what I wanted from you, a partner in my healthcare. I am sorry you don’t have enough time to talk. I am more than what is on the computer and more than my current whatever.

Thank you and Best Regards,