The Doctor is in. Or so they say.
Having recently moved from Seattle, WA to the New York City area, one of the most difficult parts of the process has been finding a whole new slate of service providers. From a dry cleaner to a veterinarian to a stylist and beyond, uprooting one’s self when one had it so organized and lock step (after many years) has felt like one of the most challenging parts of my move, as well as one of the most unsettling.
To have to rebuild a whole new cadre of service providers who I feel comfortable with for me and my family has been daunting. And, by far, the most challenging one to find is a Doctor for me. One of the most important people you need in your life. Immediately, upon moving, this is a person you need to fill your scripts and to get an appointment with if you get sick and, of course, to have the annual physical with.
I hear many people report that it is so difficult to even talk to a Doctor that often people avoid making appointments to just not have to deal with the whole thing, i.e. one’s health. Within the medical profession there are many Doctors who do not understand how intimidating they are to the average person. Consumers know they are paid by the minute, very expensive, often are not taught to think for themselves even as they are treated as “Gods” in society, i.e.e those who have every answer that you need about your health.
I don’t blame people for never wanting to go to the Dr. and, when/if they do, the intimidating experience it can be. Still, it is your health — my health — we are talking about here and so persisting to find a Dr. that is a right fit for you is worth the journey.
For me, it has been exactly that. A journey. First off, I had it very good with my Doctor in Seattle — a long term relationship of 17 years. She was an internist who also did all of the necessary female examinations — all in one Doctor. She was about my age and so we also aged together. I always called her Doc as I knew very well she was not my friend, but she was sound, solid, and also looked at me as a unique individual, not just a part of American adult stats.
To leave her was devastating — especially with what I have met with here in NY City. Knowing that I need to find a Doctor, but I also needed time to do so, here are some tips, if you too are transitioning (for any reason) to a new Doctor:
- Make sure to have seen your regular Doctor just before you need to transition. This way your health records will be up-to-date, blood work done, all tests run via people you trust, scripts issued for you to fill before you start the journey to seeing someone new.
2. Print off your health records or have your electronic medical record available for your new Doctor to review.
3. Set up a “meet and greet” consult with a new Doctor. This can serve as a time to meet a new Doctor and let them learn about you through your medical records as well as you, yourself. After all they are treating a person. This also gives you the chance to meet this Doctor. Do you like him or her from the start? Do you feel comfortable expressing your voice? How do they view you — as you or as a statistic? Are they pushing tests? This is a great opportunity to see if you like this person generally and feel they get you and your medical concerns, conditions, and more.
4. Don’t stop. If this particular Doctor is not a good match, set up another “meet and greet” consult. This can be painful for a couple of reasons. One, we just want to have a Doctor on board already. Second, consults cost and so finding the right Doctor through such consult appointments may be pricey. However, this is your health. Fighting through these painful parts is important for your care.
5. If you have a “meet and greet” consult and, although you don’t like the Doctor, you can still get your scripts refilled, antibiotics if you are sick, or any other number of isolated things one needs without creating an ongoing relationship with the Doctor. You may also need this interim step as you find your way to a new Doctor.
6. Trust that you will know who is a good fit for you and your health needs. Listen carefully, attune to your own mind and body as you sit with a new provider. Are you relaxed? Comfortable? Can you speak easily and freely with the person? Do you feel heard? Keep a close connection to self and you will intuitively know if someone is or is not the right match. If the person isn’t, take heed and don’t look back.
People often have a difficult time persisting in finding a new Doctor for themselves. For me, it has taken the better part of six months to find the dentist, the dermatologist, the internist. I am still on the journey, but I have plenty of time. So do you.