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Planting Seeds: Getting What You Want From Your Doctor

I hope my doctor doesn’t read this. As of this writing, he has no idea I am an asthma advocate. I don’t want him to read this because this article gives away one of my strategies for getting what I want. I plant seeds in the mind of my doctors. My hope is they grow into full and flourishing trees - and then I get what I want.

So, you pose the idea. I say something like, "You know, I have been reading about this new medicine that blocks the allergic response. What do you think of that?"

That’s what I said when I first learned about Singulair. This was several years ago. It may have been 20 years ago now. And he said, "Well, I will think about it."

Fast forward to my next six-month appointment. He said, as though it were his own idea, "You know, I was at home one night thinking about your asthma. And I was wondering if you might benefit from a new medicine called Singulair."

So, he let me try the medicine I had already decided I wanted to try.

Let them think it's their idea

Oh, and usually the doctor forgets it was your idea. And that’s fine. You want them to think it was their idea. That is the goal. And they give themselves credit; the idea gives their own ego a boost. That’s good therapy for them. Still, the result is you get to try something you think may benefit your asthma.

I have used this same strategy on various occasions with other doctors. I used it back when Flovent was the new steroid inhaler and when Advair came out. By this means, I was able to convince my doctor that a trial of a medicine regimen ultimately helped me obtain good asthma control.

Recently I used the same approach with the biologic Xolair. I used this on my new doctor. And I said, “You know, think about it. You don’t have to decide today.” He ultimately agreed to allow me to try it. But, unfortunately, my insurance didn’t want to pay for it. And that’s fine. I will tackle this at a future date. Still, the door is open to this potential.

I don’t always get what I want. I don’t win every battle - and that’s fine, too. Although, I do not ever give up. A good example is my effort to get some systemic steroids in my medicine cabinet. I have asked for 40 mg pills times 7. This is great for ending asthma attacks for me. Usually, this is all I need.

But he said I cannot keep them on hand. He said if I need steroids, I should come in and see him.

Choosing my battles wisely

To this, I humbly said, "The problem I have with that is your office sometimes takes 2-7 days to respond to my request for a medicine refill. So, if I’m having an asthma attack, I can’t wait that long."

His response was, "I will make a note in your chart. If you call for steroids, I will respond right away."

I said, "That’s fine. Still, I have been dealing with this disease for 50 years. I pretty much know what works for me. And I can manage my own medicine at home if I have a doctor who allows me to have access to the medicines I need. And it costs me $30 to come in to see you get a $10 prescription for prednisone. If I can’t get in to see you, it costs me $50 to go to the clinic. And it costs me $800 to go to the ER. That gets to be expensive for a $10 prescription, especially when I already know what these doctors are going to prescribe for me: prednisone."

To this, he said, "I think it’s important to see someone when you use prednisone. That way, we can keep track of how often you use it."

And there I decided to let it be.

I had decided that I had planted the seed. And that was the goal, after all. Right?

My strategy for success

If he is a great doctor, which I believe he is, he will ponder what I said. Otherwise, you can see where I can take this discussion. Truthfully, if he wants to know when I’m using prednisone, I can email a message to him, just like I would if I were asking for prednisone.

Bottom line: Sometimes, I feel it’s necessary to plant seeds. I find it gets doctors to pondering about the topic. And, oftentimes, a great doctor will make the right decision. Yet sometimes, the seed pitters out. And that’s fine too. Even when an idea pitters out, that doesn’t necessarily mean the discussion comes to an end - because I won't let it.

So, that's a little secret that I have used with success with my doctors. I am sure they don't read my articles. But, if they do, it was worth the risk as my strategy may also work for you.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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