Sunday, October 21, 2012

How To "Buy" Your Doctor's Services!

One of the best things I learned during my brief stay in nursing school was that medicine is no different than any other service or commodity that you buy.  When you go to a doctor you must realize that it's the same thing as going to the grocery or department store.  If you don't like what they are selling, you go somewhere else.  

If your doctor is not giving you the answers you need and/or understand or is not paying proper attention to your diabetes (i.e, checking your feet at every visit) that you should be receiving and/or passing off your concerns as unimportant or trivial...then it is time for you to change doctors.  
Before you  make any change however, you owe it to yourself and to other patients who may come to this doctor,  to approach him/her with a calm but confident attitude.   Your doctor should know that you are not pleased with his/her lack of communication, attention and quality of care you feel you need.  Make it clear that in order for you to stay with him/her as your healthcare provider, you need to know that things will change.  

One of the things that is a top priority in our program on How We Beat Diabetes is to get diabetics to understand that they need to take responsibility for their disease.  They need to become an empowered patient.  They need to become a proactive partner and work with their physician in their own healthcare.  You do that by becoming an educated diabetic.  You do that by learning what questions to ask and what answers you should expect to hear.

When your doctor prescribes a new medication; know why, know what, if any, alternatives there are to that medication, what issue that medication will solve or ameliorate, know the side effects of that medication, know what you need to do to come off that medication -- and if coming off of that medication at some point is even feasible.

Understand and realize that far too many doctors don't really know how to manage diabetes.  It is a chronic disease that truly requires good management over the long term on the part of the doctor and the patient.  But it is a disease that can be controlled if the patient and the doctor actively engage in good management practices.  

It is YOUR life for goodness sake!  Take your healthcare seriously.   You absolutely should NEVER walk out of your doctors office without all the answers you need on how you can make improvements in your health.  

As Dr. Phil says, "You teach people how to treat you."  That is true of family, friends and physicians.  

Read Dr. Richard Bernstein's book, "Diabetes Solution" and/or get our 2 set DVDs on How We Beat Diabetes.  These two items are filled with information.  They will give you a great start on how to become an empowered patient.  

Write your questions for the doctor down on a note pad. And during your next visit to the doctor, pull out your notes and ask your questions.   Your doctor should give you answers you can fully understand.  If you don't it's time to change doctors.

Love and Peace
Mary, The Diabetes Lady