We all want a doctor who is thorough and knows what they are on about. We certainly don't want the type who has to look up your symptoms in a medical book on the shelf. A good bedside manner is a big plus and good looks are a bonus.
But what happens when you encounter Dr Alarmist? Well, the name pretty much says it all. You end up in a state of alarm or panic. And when we are talking health, that's pretty major. It's life and death major.
I'm wondering if medical schools teach trainee doctors how to talk to and deal with patients? What if they earned their qualifications overseas? Do they get a re-cap of this lesson before practising in Australia?
About a month ago I found myself in that position of alarm and panic...and fear. I went in to my local doctor for a regular test and left fearing I either had cancer, had pre-cancerous cells or at the very least, that I would have an unclear result and would have to do the test again. On top of that, the doctor had me doubting my sanity and own understanding of my body when she flippantly and without explanation of the terminology, wrote me a referral for an ultrasound to determine whether I was experiencing a threatened abortion (a technical term for symptoms that may indicate the beginning of a miscarriage). I was not pregnant and was 99% sure of that. But my opinion was dismissed with barely a sideways glance.
To say that I left that doctor's appointment with my head reeling would be an understatement. I had to wait a whole week for my results and for somebody that thinks way too much, that was just too much time in which to conjure up worst case scenarios. I only told Sam and a few close friends but my mind was consumed with worry. I prayed that the roulette wheel hadn't stopped on my number.
When I returned to the doctor for my results, all I got was an "all good" - I was in too much shock to say anything but really, was that all she could muster after the week she had put me through? I was annoyed because this same doctor had put another friend through unnecessary worry when she "diagnosed" her 3 year old son with Bell's Palsy. A different doctor confirmed it was nothing of the sort and promptly solved the problem on the spot.
I guess the message is always trust your instincts and if you are not happy with what a doctor has told you, seek a second opinion. Just because someone has a medical degree, it doesn't mean they are right. Suffice to say, I won't be seeing this particular doctor again!