a woman and her doctor look at each other with skepticism

Questions I Ask Myself When Seeing a New Doctor

Let’s talk specialty physicians. If you grimaced at the thought of having this conversation, you probably have had the same experience that it seems like almost everyone in the AS community has. For whatever reason, good specialists seem to be few and far between and hard to come by.

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High expectations

Being chronically ill, our expectations are probably (understandably) a little higher than most. For me, I know that this is someone I will be spending a lot of my time with, and I have to make sure I feel comfortable leaving my care (and life) in their hands.

Questions I ask myself

After every new patient appointment, there are a few questions I ask myself. I use this as a guideline to gauge whether or not this particular physician is the right fit for me or if I need to go ahead and seek a second opinion.

Question #1:

Are they dismissive of my symptoms or worries and taking everything into account? I suffer from medical anxiety, which means that any minor ache or pain sends me into a frenzy, and I automatically think I have a life-threatening illness. I wish this were a joke, but sadly, it's not. So, there are a few things I need from them.

I need to know they are looking at the broader picture and considering my extensive medical history before making a diagnosis. I also do not want them to make light of the situation, especially if it is causing me anxiety. I do not take my health lightly, and neither should they.

Question #2:

Are they willing to look into every possibility to find the root cause, or do they want to treat symptomatically? Most of my chronic illnesses are related to each other in one way or another, and ideally, I'd like to treat the cause rather than mask the symptoms.

If a doctor sends me off with a prescription for four different medications to "make me comfortable" without doing any testing or imaging, that is a huge red flag for me.

Question #3:

Do they make me feel valued? There have been times where I have felt like I was just another number in line, so much so that I felt like I was inconveniencing them with my presence! Crazy. So, understandably, I need to know (and feel like) they truly care about my health and well-being.

I want to be able to have real-life, personal conversations with my doctors, and knowing they genuinely want to help me means more to me than anything. Any doctor who sends me off with their cell number just so I can reach out if I need anything over the weekend, those are the real MVPs in my book.

What are your expectations?

So, in summary, choosing our medical team is not always easy, but making sure they meet the standards and criteria we set for ourselves can be helpful. What is it you look for in a physician? Let me know down in the comments below!

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