Sunday, February 9, 2014


At least one hospital has given me a "patient's bill of rights."   I can't find a copy right now, but I remember one of the rights was "the right to be treated respectfully."  

My experience is that the doctor's office staff is often far less respectful than the actual doctor.  Being scolded, even in what seem to be careful word choices, is still being scolded.  

In my new state, Texas, I have become a patient of several new doctors and a dentist, plus some radiation therapists.  I have sometimes been unhappy, but I had to move forward since the diagnosis of DCIS.  And once, a few days ago, I was furious at a doctor's staff member.

Things that make me unhappy:
Doctors who refuse to talk on the phone.
Printed procedure prep instructions with some steps left out.
What seems to be plain carelessness in prescribing.
Not listening to my exact symptoms and the way my body feels.
Staff members scolding.

I'm reminded lately that a patient and a doctor may have personalities that don't mesh, or philosophies so different that the patient is uneasy.
(I don't have to decide if the doc is a jerk or the staff needs behavior modification.)  I just have to leave.

So now  it's time to build a happy medical support group, as I try out Tamoxifen and care for other medical concerns.   

My lumpectomy surgeon, a really kind, friendly, and skilled man, recommended a medical oncologist I like so far.  A friend knew an ophthalmologist group I like.  A close friend likes her primary physician. Decisions.

What I say after I meet a doc or radiation therapist I like: 

He talked to me like a person!
He knew in 30 seconds it was my spine, not my leg!
In five minutes, he took my anxiety away!
We can make each other laugh even when discussing cancer.

Have to quote Sir William Osler again:  It is much more important to know what sort of patient has the disease than to know what sort of disease the patient has.  

If only that would fit on a tee shirt.

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