For someone with a disability (or a parent to someone with a disability), the relationships we have developed with Callie’s doctors have been paramount to her success. And honestly, for our family, it feels like we’ve seen SO MANY doctors over the last 15 years. And we’ve had our fair share of great ones and some….ahem, not so great ones.
So how do you know when it’s time to find a new doctor? Here’s a few reasons why you might need (or want) to break up with your doctor:
- Your doctor has no bedside manner. This one is really important to me but not so important to my husband. I need someone that’s going to interact with me and talk to me like a person. I need a bit of personality from the healthcare team that’s going to be working with my daughter. I need some jokes. I need some encouragement. I need maybe a “Good job Mom” or a “I understand this is hard.” My husband on the other hand? Not important to him, he just wants a good doctor that knows their stuff. But for me, personality is key.
- Your doctor isn’t the expert in the field that you need. We definitely have switched doctors for this reason. When we are looking at who we work with, we want them to be an expert in their field. We want them to be applying new, modern, and innovative practices, therapies, and procedures. The best of the best and the top of their game. And we understand that might mean we have to wait a little longer for an appointment or schedule appointments out much further than we’re used to due to their availability, but for us, it’s worth it.
- Your doctor has no respect for your time. I abhor having to wait. I’m the type of person that is always 5 minutes early EVERYWHERE so if my doctor’s office is constantly running late, takes forever to respond to messages/paperwork requests and/or cancels our appointments frequently, I’m looking for a new doctor. Doctor’s offices are businesses—and as a customer, I can choose (within reason) who I do business with, and I choose to partner with offices that value my time.
- Your doctor is hard to communicate with. I have to be able to understand Callie’s doctors. I have to be able to have a direct means of communication with them and access to them in a timely manner. I can’t have them explaining things in medical jargon that’s yards above my head otherwise, I’m not going to understand a dang thing they say. That leads to frustration and potentially a situation where I’m not sure how to execute a particular therapy, surgery pre-op, or post op medication regimen. Communication is key.
- Your doctor is prescription happy. I added this one in from personal experience. If your doctor’s first response is to prescribe you a pill instead of asking you about your diet, water intake, supplement program, sleep habits, stress levels, or hormone levels….it might be time to find a new doctor. I’m a firm believer in prescription medicine when needed (hello, I’m a Type One Diabetic who is dependent on a drug called insulin to live😉) but I also feel like it’s used as a first resort when many times, there are natural remedies including modifications to diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and supplements that would solve the issues without adding a slew of other side effects from overly prescribing medication.
- Your doctor doesn’t listen to you. I can’t stress this one enough. If your doctor doesn’t listen to your symptoms, doesn’t consider your perspective, or doesn’t value your lived experiences…it’s time to find a new one. So many times (especially with women), our symptoms are downplayed or completely ignored and we simply can’t afford that when it comes to our health. For Callie, we have to build her a new prosthetic leg on a yearly basis and the communication between Callie and her prosthetist is key to a successful build. They have to listen to her, take her feedback and concerns, and execute on her unique needs down to the minute detail to get any modifications done because otherwise, her entire build will be off. Now that she’s at the age where she can communicate clearly with the team, her builds go much more smoothly. I can’t imagine trying to build something as custom as a prosthetic leg if her team didn’t listen to her or value her opinions.
- Your doctor doesn’t advocate for you. I can’t tell you how many times the insurance company has denied Callie’s entire prosthetic leg, the liners that go with it, certain medications, her physical therapies and countless other things. Countless times. I’m so appreciative that she has a healthcare team that will advocate for her to make sure that her health care needs are met—whether it’s calling the insurance company or writing them a letter to explain why she needs a particular therapy, device, or medication. It’s so nice to have another person on “Team Callie” and you should have the same experience with your healthcare team.
- You don’t feel comfortable with them. Call it your intuition, your inner knowing, or a gut feeling—if you don’t feel comfortable with someone that is helping you with your healthcare needs, LEAVE. You do not have to be in partnership with someone that makes you feel disrespected, inadequate, less than, or frankly just badly. I “broke” up with a doctor for this reason–I never felt better after seeing him. He was pretty condescending, made me feel like I wasn’t trying, and frankly I felt uncomfortable just being alone in the room with him. I left his practice and was able to find an AMAZING doctor that I’ve been with for almost 15 years. Trust your intuition.