New Doc

21Mar07

I’m changing doctors, something I never imagined I would do midway through a pregnancy. It’s got me thinking about professional relationships, and how in some ways, the things we’re looking for in these relationships are the same as those we’re looking for in personal relationships: caring, trust, reliability. I never thought about it before, but I have a lot of expectations of my doctors.

Of course I expect my doctors to be well educated and up on the latest and greatest medical information. I expect them to be proficient as doctors. I expect them to be able to answer my questions. But this OB-GYN experience has taught me a few other things I didn’t necessarily know I expected.

Like I expect my doctors to remember me from the previous appointment. I expect them to read my chart and to ask questions about anything that might have been bothering me in the past. When I had heart palpitations early in my pregnancy and my old doctor’s office told me to either see my primary care physician or get to the ER immediately, I expected that someone would follow up on that with me. No one did. I realize I also expect my doctors to listen to me and to recognize that while I may not bill my hours for as high a price as they do, my time is as valuable as theirs. There’s no reason to wait one hour in an exam room for someone to come see you. Certainly not at each appointment. I also expect my doctors to take at least a marginal interest in me as a human being. Ask about my husband, or about what I’ve been doing to relax during pregnancy. Ask me if I’m a buckeye fan (but when I say no, please don’t hate me — I’m not from here, I don’t know any better).

Of course starting with a new doctor is a bit scary. What if I have jumped from the frying pan into the fire? In this case, I don’t think I possibly could be. At the prior place, I did not have my own doctor. There, I saw a different person every single time I went in, and I was frequently asked questions that they had answers to right there on the chart, like “Have you felt the baby move yet?” Um, yeah, my chart should indicate that I first felt the baby move WEEKS ago. But thanks for asking. This lack of continuity of case also led to inconsistencies. One doc told me that my severe headaches were migraines. She said that if I still had them after the first trimester, I should see a neurologist. Another doctor implied that that was crazy. Pregnant women get headaches, she told me, and said to take more Tylenol and that they’d eventually go away.

Anyway, I’m feeling fairly confident that whatever things I don’t like about my new doctor, she’s bound to be better than the situation I’m leaving. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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