Thursday, May 15, 2014

Internal Medicine Doctor for Me; Where to Begin

With the exception of having had ovarian tumors and currently living with chronic myelogenous leukemia; I am an extremely healthy person. I just do not get sick. I have had two bladder infections in my life, both treated at an urgent care center or emergency room. I do suffer from an obligatory case of bronchitis on a yearly basis; usually in October, which has been typically been treated by either my oncologist or my gynecological oncologist; I have never had a “doctor,” by this I mean a general physician, family doctor; on that people go to whenever they are sick with the “usual” stuff; sore throat ear ache, fever, flu, nausea, etc.


Since I live in Boise, Idaho and my oncologist is in Los Angeles, California and I am living with a chronic cancer that seems to have ever increasing side effects from my treatment, I have decided that I should put my big girl panties on and form a relationship with a local physician; just in case.

Now, shopping for a physician is not something I enjoy; as a matter of fact, I actually hate it! I am extremely particular when it comes to my health and my expectations of the person that I entrust my life to, are extremely high; not many that I have met fit the bill and searching to find the right fit is often like finding the needle, in the haystack.

So, where does one begin? For me, I usually seek out the advice of another physician, or a nurse. Nurses in particular know “how” doctors treat their patients; doctors know “who” to trust with their life. Once I have done some homework, I make some calls; I talk to the office staff. Evaluating the office staff is really important as these are the people that you will deal with, prior to getting to your physician; they make your appointments, often assess your “need” and also schedule follow up visits and tests that are ordered; you may also be at their mercy when it comes to receiving the results of ordered tests. You had better like the office staff!

Next comes the really crucial part of forming a long term relationship; the physician. How does he/she make you feel? Does he/she ask questions and listen to your answers? Does he/she appear to take an honest interest in you and your health? Do you communicate well with each other? Do you feel rushed or unimportant? Does he/she seem knowledgeable?  And most importantly, would you trust this person with your life, and would you feel comfortable knowing that this person had your life in their hands? There are many things that come into play when choosing a physician and these are just some of the guidelines that I use.

I also decided that I would choose an Internal Medicine Physician as opposed to a Family Practitioner as an internist deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of adult diseases.  ACP; American College of Physicians offers this information:

Caring for the Whole Patient

Internists are equipped to deal with whatever problem a patient brings -- no matter how common or rare, or how simple or complex. They are specially trained to solve puzzling diagnostic problems and can handle severe chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time. They also bring to patients an understanding of wellness (disease prevention and the promotion of health), women's health, substance abuse, mental health, as well as effective treatment of common problems of the eyes, ears, skin, nervous system and reproductive organs.

Caring for You for Life

In today's complex medical environment, internists take pride in caring for their patients for life -- in the office or clinic, during hospitalization and intensive care, and in nursing homes. When other medical specialists, such as surgeons or obstetricians, are involved, they coordinate their patient's care and manage difficult medical problems associated with that care.

You can also go one step further and check their credentials; many places also have a rating system available online.

This being said, do you think that I have found my perfect match?


3 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post and the information about internists!

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  2. I hope you find the best one possible!

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  3. Thanks for sharing, very interesting...I have a great internist I have needed over the year's and he gets copies on all my CML info....which is awesome for when I have had to go and see him for different issues!

    I certainly hope u find someone that u are totally comfortable with, that is HUGE and a MUST for us Cancer patients...I am sorry to hear u don't have that great and awesome CML team already....I am very blessed after hearing such stories like yours and others that I have such an amazing team and the Head of the Leukemia Dept. as my Doc here and have for over 15 yrs. now! I always tell one of many, many stories re my Doc and him being as excited as I was when my first grandson was born and then the other 4 grandson's since then and then just last summer when I had surgery for my right knee replacement and his being the first get well card I received from him and not his secretary...we have been thru hell and back, he has listened to every word I have said whether I am yelling it, crying tears of pain, depression, joy, stress, happiness etc..he let's me vent and truly listens as of course I do back obviously...and as I have said that is just one of hundred's of stories I could tell over these year's!

    I so hope u find what u need, that is everything when dealing with your life!! Over my year's of talking to people as an advocate, that if they are not okay with whom they are with then indeed u need to go for another opinion and/or maybe even another one...whatever it takes....this is your LIFE!

    God Bless,
    Susan C.

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Bricks for the Brave!!