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My Opinion Of Doctors

I do not like doctors. There, I said it. That’s my opinion of doctors.

No, I’m not referring to the person. I like the person my doctor is. He’s cool. Or, maybe he’s not. Who knows. But I’m not referring to the person. I’m referring to the doctor part. Seeing doctors is annoying. Seeing doctors is a pain.

Nuff said.

But, I suppose more should be said. I was diagnosed with asthma long before my memory serves me. I have probably been to more doctors than most patients I’ve taken care of as an Respiratory Therapist. I was in emergency rooms often as a kid. I saw my regular doctor weekly. I saw allergists. I saw pulmonologists.

Heck, in 1985 I was admitted to an asthma hospital for six months. Lord knows how many different doctors I saw during my stay. I saw at least one doctor every day. And, yes, I will count the psychiatrist as a doctor. Your head needs treatment too, sometimes. This is especially true when your disease affects your life, your friendships, your ability to do anything.

As an adult, my asthma is controlled. It’s a lot better. This is due to magnificent improvements in asthma wisdom. It’s due to a 5,000 year leap of sorts in asthma medications over the past 20 years or so.

And yet I still need to see doctors.

I don’t have an asthma doctor, per se, anymore. I see an Internist. By default, with me as a patient, he’s become an asthma expert. Any doctor of an asthmatic becomes an asthma expert. If he doesn’t, then it’s time to get a new doctor. But, I’ve been rather fortunate, and my doctors have managed my disease well.

I have been fortunate to have some very good doctors over the years. That’s nice, as I hate shopping around for doctors — let alone shopping for anything.

But, still, as a lifelong asthmatic, as someone who’s seen hundreds of doctors — as someone who works with doctors (even has doctor friends), I still hate seeing doctors (as a patient, I mean).

You’d think, of all people, I’d be used to seeing doctors by now — but I’m not. I continue to have a doctor phobia.

You could call it White Coat Anxiety if you want. But, many healthcare professionals, including myself, wear white lab coats. And I don’t have anxiety around most of them. I don’t have anxiety about myself. I mean, if I did, I surely wouldn’t be able to work in a hospital as an RT. Heck, if that were the case, I’d have a phobia of myself, and I don’t.

So, I don’t like the term White Coat Fever. I think doctor anxiety is a better option. I think annoyed is an even better option. Yes, I find going to a doctor is annoying — especially when you have to see him every six months, and sometimes even more often than that.

Doctor visits have changed over these years. I’m 48, so I’m closing in on 5 decades living with it. As a kid I’d sit there on the doctor’s bed in my skivvies. I’d be nervous, sitting there with mom representing me.

Now, I sit in a chair. I do not even put on a gown. I just stay in my clothes. These appointments have segued into conversations. These conversations don’t begin with asthma. It’s usually something like this:

“Hey, John, how’s it going?” My doctor said one day.

“Oh, it’s going pretty well. I’m trying to get in shape, but it’s not working out too well. The scale doesn’t seem to want to cooperate.”

“Oh,” he said, “I gave up weighing myself years ago.” He smiled, laughed. “That’s what I recommend for you. Just stop weighing yourself.”

I nodded.

And at some point the asthma gets mentioned, usually as an afterthought.

And usually, I have some idea about tweaking my asthma regimen. Maybe I read something. I run the idea by him.

Sometimes he says, “Sure, we can do that.”

And sometimes he says, “No! I don’t like that idea.”

Fine! He’s the expert.

But I’m an expert too. I’m the patient. I study it daily. Heck, I write about it. But, I also live with it. And that by default makes me an asthma expert.

So, we need doctors. That we know for sure. Still, that doesn’t mean we have to like seeing them. That doesn’t make it any less stressful or annoying. At least that’s my opinion of doctors. What’s yours?

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


  • Shellzoo
    11 months ago

    I feel like I am rushed through my appointments, that the doctor is focused on reading my electronic chart and that I have little time for questions, much less answers. My doctor’s are good, I know that but I wish they would listen more to my concerns. Sometimes I just need reassurance that I am on the right track with my current plan.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    11 months ago

    Hi again, Shellzoo and we hear you! Others in our community have expressed similar sentiments when it comes to the time the doctor spends with them. You may want to try to let the office staff know (ahead of time), when you’re making your appointment that you need time to discuss your case with the physician. Or, you can take this up with the doctor directly and see what the response is. Please be sure to let us know how this works out for you. Leon (site moderator)

  • WheezyMe
    1 year ago

    Hey John,
    I think this is normal. As you say, it’s not the doctor as a person that you hate, but rather sitting in the patient’s chair in front of him.
    It’s normal not to like handling a chronic disease, and doctor visits are just a part of it. Did I get you right?
    At least I’m happy for you that you feel in good hands and that he’s empathic. Doctor-patient relationship is vital in managing any chronic condition well.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    11 months ago

    Yeah! I think that about nails it. What’s your opinion on doctor’s visits? John. Site Moderator.

  • anjaba
    1 year ago

    John, you are channeling me with this post, I am an asthmatic RT
    now retired. I don’t like doctors and have seen hundreds of them. I spent a year in a children’s for asthma. I have many doctor friends and still hate to see one as a patient. Thanks for this post it did my old heart and twitchy airways good.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    1 year ago

    Hi. anjaba. What hospital did you spend a year at? Just curious. John. Site Moderator.

  • Wheezy82
    1 year ago

    I can agree with your post, I see many different doctors for my asthma, I have been diagnosed with “brittle asthma” although all my doctors have different options on what that diagnosis actually means. I completely underdstand your frustrations with making changes, I am registered for almost every trial in Britain in terms of advancements but never seem to get the opertunity to try, there’s various excuses, usually my lung function is not good enough to meet the trial criteria, like you I get really annoyed, it’s my life and I will happily take on the risks of ultimately my life could be better, but apparany that’s not my decission to make.

    Thought I would just let you know your not alone in the world.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you! I think that’s one of the neat things about communities like this. What do you think?

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