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.
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.”
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?