a woman meeting her new asthma doctor gives a high five

Meeting My New Doctor

I thought it would take a long time to find a new family doctor. Following some chronically busy line phone calls and a lot of Googling though, I got lucky--within days of my former family doctor's departure from her practice, I made an appointment to meet a new doctor. My "meet-and-greet" with him was just 27 days after my last appointment with my past family doctor.

I went in hopeful and armed with my double-sided sheet of paper with a summary of my medical history, and I left without that piece of paper and beyond happy.

The Google sleuth

Dia and I tried to thoroughly sleuth my new doctor. (Yes, actually, Google sleuthing is one of those things Dia and I do on a regular basis.) Aside from finding a video of him doing a very complex presentation in what I believe was in undergrad, I had no idea what to expect. I knew he was young, predicted he was from this province (based on doing undergrad here), and we figured out he was a brand new graduate setting up a practice because: a) the date stamp on the summer student video presentation and b) he was not on the College of Physicians register yet, but Dia found him on the education register. As of the day of my appointment, I checked, and he's indeed moved to the physician register.

But that was it. No RateMDs reviews. No Google anything. No family medicine-related research papers for me to take a glance at. No CV floating around on the internet. So, like much in healthcare, I was going in blind.

Building the relationship

When you end up at the doctor as much as some of us with chronic health problems do, having a good fit with your family doctor is important, because you may end up seeing them a bit. As such, the meet and greet appointment is the "let's have coffee" of that relationship.

Except it's a pandemic, so there was no casual coffee-sipping to be had, because we had masks on.

My new doctor (who I have to meet at least once more before I can give him a pseudonym!) came in basically right on time. When we got to the "tell me about yourself" bit, I handed over my sheet of paper listing my diagnoses, medications, pertinent bits of medical history for him to be aware of, and the specialists I see or have seen before. This is when I knew we were off to a good start. I'd expected him to read through the summary side and ask questions, but, beyond my expectations, he read both sides with all the details, asking questions and making notes while he read... and then asked: "Can I keep this?"--YES, that is what it is for!

We talked a bit about my asthma, my specialists (noting my gynecologist is "one of the best"), and my upcoming cardiology appointment, my medications (and my meds in tandem with the tachycardia), what routine care I was (over)due for. He actually told me to book a pap test "whenever it's convenient" and, dude, I have never had a doctor ask me to do something when it's CONVENIENT. Bonus points there.

Getting thoroughly doctored

My last family doctor was super nice and certainly competent overall, but I always knew deep down she was not the most thorough, or the best doctor I could have. I left the meet and greet and told my mom (who also had an appointment after me!) "I feel like I was more thoroughly doctored in those twenty minutes than I was with [the other doctor] in the last two years."

The clinic staff weighed and measured me. The doc took a (manual!) blood pressure (normal), checked my pulse and asked how it was reading on my Apple Watch (130 - high), listened to my heart, listened to my lungs (clear), and told me about how the heart does heart things, sinus tachycardia, and that I'm probably fine but agreed it was good I was getting checked out by cardiology.

And, okay, that doesn't sound like a lot, but given this was our initial meeting, and that the second-last time my former doc went to check my blood pressure and the machine didn't work and she just gave up... well, I definitely appreciated the "old-school" a bit more.

Just hopeful

Honestly, I was hopeful but a bit pessimistic, in the way some chronic patients are, going into this. Now I'm just hopeful! I think we're off to a good start, and I'm pretty impressed. He seems to know his stuff, is super casual, and we even had a couple of laughs ("I'm thinking of getting a better blood pressure monitor 'cause I don't know if my mom's works right, and I know I really don't need one with Bluetooth... but like, they put the technology in there, how can I not?!" which he thought was funny. I enjoy that he gets my very specific brand of nerd humor!). I'll go back in November-ish after my cardiology appointment, but it also sounds like he's freeing me of my past decade worth of quarterly visits, which is quite exciting!

The only thing is, I really only know what the top half of his face looks like given his light purple surgical mask, which is kind of weird that this is the only mental picture I have of him. So maybe in a year or so I'll know what his whole face looks like?

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