August 21, 2014

Having a great doctor is so important

When I lived in Manhattan, I had the best docs in the world. But then I moved to upstate New York, where hardly any doctors are even competent, never mind good.

For over a decade of living up here in the hinterlands, I went to dreadful doctors. My primary, may he rest in the ground, was such a bigot. He absolutely could not see me for who I was. After all, I'm gay and I've got a lot of tattoos. Therefore I'm a drug fiend. Case closed. No amount of acting normal, nice and rational served to change his opinion of me.

I would even say to him, now and then, check my medical records. I haven't asked you for one pain drug in the entire ten years I've been going to you. Didn't matter; I was a drug fiend. I finally quit him, but unfortunately I stayed with the same medical practice (for insurance reasons). As I tried this and that doctor at the facility, it became clear that my original doctor had poisoned their minds against me. I was a drug fiend and that's all there was to it.

I hate pain drugs and avoid them like the plague. Ever since I got sober, I've enjoyed such mental clarity. To lose it even for a day is unthinkable to me. When doctors offer me such medications, I just say, "No, I'll be fine." Mind you, if I was in intolerable pain, I'd ask for some. But that hasn't happened.

Although I'm still with the same medical practice, I now go to a completely different facility. The doctors there are so good! And every one of them sees me, not a specter dreamed up by looking at my tattoos.

What makes me write this is that I've received such good care in the past year or so. I love my primary, and all the specialists he's sent me to have been terrific.

Gay people, even those with tattoos, may be normal, nice people. This is something my old doctors couldn't get through their skulls. (I imagine people of color, and even women, get the same nonsense from white, arrogant, male idiots with an MD after their name. It's not just me.)

Anyway, it's just great to be getting appropriate, kindly care. Finally. Have you ever had a problem like this because of a doctor's inaccurate perception of you as a person?

PS: The tattoo thing is huge. One specialist I was sent to years ago never looked me in the eye during an entire visit. It was obvious that to him, I was trash. A friend once told me that what makes having a lot of tattoos weird is that strangers see you and immediately think they know the story of your life. Ahem. You don't. And you're nitwits.


Artichoke Annie said...

I basically don't like doctors and avoided them like the plague for years and years. Well, I let them help me birth my babies, but other than that and an occasional ER visit the Medical Profession and I kept our distance.

A few years ago at the insistence of my daughter, "Mother you are getting older, you need to see a doctor" ~ Ok, ok and I relented.

My daughter had a doctor friend, so she listed my needs: Had to be a women doctor, and a bit eccentric. They did come up with someone.

We met, talked, I became a "patient" and for a solid year my visits were the two of us fighting. "No I was born with high blood pressure" I would muse. More Blueberries will fix it."

Well we have a long history now. We no longer fight. She takes good care of me if I am ill, I follow her program for a more healthy getting out there and walking daily.

There are medical procedures I won't acquiesce to and she respects that. A little give and a little take.

Hmm, sounds like a marriage.

writenow said...

There you go, redefining marriage again. Just kidding. I'm glad you found a doc you can live with.