The Good Doctor
Finding a good doctor can be one of the most difficult tasks when dealing with a chronic condition like asthma. Asthmatics with particularly severe disease can have an even harder time, as the nuances of treatment can be tricky. I do not know how I got so lucky when I found my pulmonologist, but let me tell you, he is world-class. One of the smartest people I have ever met. And the BEST doctor I have ever had. I affectionately refer to my pulmonologist as "The Good Doctor."
He listens to me
I have found that not all doctors have the gift of listening to their patients. Sure, they may hear the words coming out of a patient's mouth and record notes appropriately, but that’s not the kind of listening I am referring to. When I have an appointment with The Good Doctor, I know that I have his full attention. He never seems distracted. He never comes in with a hidden agenda or preconceived ideas. He is always fully present during every appointment I have ever had with him.
Fits me in and gives me the time I need
Part of listening is allowing the time needed for each appointment. I remember my first appointment with The Good Doctor lasted well over an hour. I do not know how much time he was “supposed” to spend with me, but he gave me all the time I needed. Due to the severity and complexity of my case, a 20-minute appointment is rarely enough time for us to discuss everything we need to. I cannot tell you how many times I have met with The Good Doctor outside of clinic hours, how many times he has found an hour in his day to spend with me, or the countless calls and texts we have exchanged. I asked him once how he manages to provide me with all the time I need, and he simply said, "I try to meet my patients where they are at."
I remember an appointment I had with him fairly recently. I had some things I wanted to discuss with him, but I was not comfortable having that conversation with his scribe in the room. I asked if the scribe could step out for the rest of our visit. I felt kind of guilty because I know he has a lot on his plate, and it would mean that he would have to write our visit notes himself. I apologized for the inconvenience it would cause him. He responded, "I don't mind at all, it’s not about me."
Validates my thoughts and feelings
As someone with asthma, you can probably relate to the idea that not everyone takes asthma seriously, some label it as anxiety. Those kinds of responses from other doctors make me doubt my symptoms or their severity. The Good Doctor has always found a way to validate my feelings, my symptoms, and my experiences. He acknowledges my disease and how it affects both my physical and mental health.
Treats me like I am part of the asthma treatment team
Not all doctors are good at including their patients in treatment decisions. Having worked in the healthcare field and being a professional patient, I can tell you that some doctors have egos and agendas that don’t include the patient’s input. The Good Doctor is definitely not like that. Though he may be the expert in pulmonary medicine, I am the expert on how asthma affects me. To that end, we are both experts, and we work together to treat every aspect of my asthma.
Advocates for me
Most of my medical encounters involve me advocating for myself in one way or another. At times, it can be exhausting. With The Good Doctor, those tables are turned. Because of the relationship we have built over the years, I know that he will come to bat for me, and has many times. When I finally made the decision to apply for disability, he was the one doctor I knew would support me 100% and do everything in his power to help me through the process, whatever that meant.
Do you have a good doctor for your asthma?
I know I’m lucky to have him as part of my medical team. I am telling you about The Good Doctor because I want you to have hope that there are excellent doctors out there. I was fortunate enough to stumble across one of the best. I hope in your searching you have found, or will find, a Good Doctor.
How does your asthma change with the seasons?