Friday, June 23, 2006

Bedside Manner?

I took my mother to the doctor yesterday. I have mentioned before that she's in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. She functions well with most things, but struggles with anything requiring a number. As she doesn't drive anymore, my sister and I make sure she's happy and gets where she needs to go.

She has a couple of suspicious spots on her face, and one on her hand. Her regular doctor, whom we love, is on medical leave, so we had to make an appointment with a new doctor.

The new doctor walked into the examination room 90 minutes after the appointment was scheduled. I had actually tired of waiting that long, and opened the door to find her standing in it. I said, "Oh, you're right here!" and she said "uh huh" and stood there continuing to read, not saying hello, introducing herself, or otherwise acknowledging us.

She then walked in and suggested that Mom's blood pressure was a bit on the high side, saying that we might need more medicines.

Never having met her, not knowing what information she had in her hands, I asked her if she had it down that that Mom is already taking blood pressure meds. "I KNOW," she said, "that's why I said MORE instead of SOME."

Her tone was unmistakeable: she all but added, "you dumb bitch" to the end of her sentence.

My intentions were to make sure that all communication with concern with Mom's meds and health care were clear, and she was cold and rude about it. Does she forget that I pay HER?

I'm not paying her to talk to me or my mother like that, that's for sure. She offered to either send Mom to a dermatologist for a biopsy, or she said she could do it herself.

I took what was behind Door #1: The dermatologist. I want someone a bit nicer, with a better bedside manner to handle my mother, especially if they're going to be cutting on her while she's awake.

What if she really is a good doctor? What if she's top of her class, and we were lucky to have gotten in to see her? How much does bedside manner account for when you're talking about potentially serious health issues? Would I rather have an asshole that knows what he's doing, or a kind idiot?

Well. The asshole of course. But those really aren't my only 2 choices. She's a family practice doctor, and there are dozens of them to choose from. They're all going to give me basically the same options. I'll just step over here and deal with the doctor that treats us with a little dignity. And that doctor can "Sit On It, Potsy."


  1. I totally getcha...

    I like someone who knows what they are doing, but if they come off as insensitive and a total prick..I switch..I need some one with empathy to deal with me or my daughter...not someone who in between lines suggests I'm a 'dumb bitch'

  2. The Dr might have been pissed for killing a few people with her attitude ..

    Man thats crazy .. Learn how to talk to people .. Keep your ego away when you work ..

    I would complain to the management for the way you were treated ..


  3. I wonder why some doctors become doctors. Don't they know they're going to have deal with real, live people???

    No one treats Mama that way (or her daughter)!

  4. That is so rude of the doctor! Chosing a differnt doctor is the right thing to do. There is no use complaining to anybody about her. If she doesn't want to deal with people and questions, she should become a surgeon and deal with people under heavy sedation.

    Hope everything goes well with your mom's health.

  5. it's so unecessary to cop the doctor as god attitude. i have no patience for it.

  6. I was gonna say what momo did, why do doctors become such, KNOWING they have to talk to people, about their health (not the weather) if they really don't wanna talk to people.

    I feel bad for your mother, she deserves better.

  7. There is one thing toconsider - the rude doc may not realize she was rude. Sometimes, people get so caught up in what they are doing that they act that way. Or, maybe she IS a real jerk.

    I would rather have an average doc that at least appears to care, than an expert jerk. Maybe that makes me an idiot - but it is a quality of life (not just health)issue.

  8. Sydney's first obstetrician was like that. SUCH a bitch. We not only called and told her office why we are leaving the practice, but we also called the family practice doctor who referred us and told them how ugly she was. Don't put up with that. It just isn't necessary!

  9. Totally unacceptable. Find someone nice and competent. They're out there! Just a little harder to find, unfortunately. Like Momo, I wonder why some people choose to be doctors!

  10. MP: Yeah, one has to hang in there. Her condescending attitude had me thinking. Was she just crabby or did she truly feel such disdain for my clarifying things?

    Ilaiy: She may kill someone with that attitude! Intimidating her patients may keep them from communicating something serious to her.

    Momo: I imagine it's hard to have ALL of the qualifications required to be a good doctor: smarts, courage, AND kindness.

    Twisty: ha! A very good solution that sounds like it would work out for everyone. You're a genius.

    Lime: I had no patience for it either; takes a lot to piss me off and shut me down. Now if I can only work on screwing up the courage to say, politely, "there's no need to talk to me like that."

    Do over!

    Barry: I swear I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. She was running late, tired, had cramps, I tried to factor that in. But, no excuses...we all have bad days but manage to do our jobs without stomping all over people.

    Holly: Good for you. I never know when it's worth my while to complain formally.

    Wendy: Hopefully Mom's regular doc will be back soon. She smiles and holds Mom's hand, and my mother ALWAYS says "I love you" when she leaves. It makes all the difference in the world when I'm trying to drag Mom in to the doctor; her anxiety levels skyrocket.


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