Doctors too are humans. Very often, when confronted with a medical crisis we tend to forget this simple fact. In my many years of experience of working closely with doctors in large corporate hospitals, I have learnt that by observing the following few simple rules one can extract the best out of ones doctors.
1. Honesty is the Best Policy
It is imperative that you be brutally honest with your doctor. Hiding things such as a bad drinking habit or a past history of parental abuse will only make things difficult for your doctor. Remember a doctor is trained to understand and he will not pass judgement on your lifestyle or your past. It may also help if you were to make a small checklist of things that you plan to share with your doctor.
2. Trust Your Doctor
It is of immense importance that you trust your doctor completely. Do not hesitate to ask questions but never give the impression to your doctor that you do not trust his judgement. Medicine is endlessly complicated. No two individuals react to a disease or a medicine in the same manner. Your doctor has the knowledge and the experience to the do the best he can do for you. And if you have genuine reasons for not trusting your doctor, do not continue under his care for a day longer. Have a honest chat with him, explain to him your reasons for discomfort and inform him that you will be unable to continue under his care. Many of us hesitate to engage our doctor in a discussion like this fearing that our doctor will take it otherwise and will be offended. Most doctors will understand and even help you find another specialist who will probably be able to help you better.
3. Knowledge is Power
Try and learn as much as you can about your ailment. Information is easily available over the internet or ask for Patient Information Literature from your care managers at the hospital. It is a myth to believe that doctors are uncomfortable with knowledgable patients. The truth is that most doctors encourage their patients to learn more about the disease and the treatment options. This helps your doctors to engage with you much better.
4. Be Vigilant…Always
Illnesses seldom happen all of a sudden. While on a hospital bed one often looks back at the small tell tale signs that one ignored before the onset of an illness. That momentary loss of sensation in a limb, that small black out that one ascribed to fatigue, that heaviness in the chest, which one tried to cure by popping an antacid all return to haunt us as serious illnesses. The surest way of getting the best out of your doctor is to visit him or at least call him when you feel anything, which may be out of the ordinary.
5. Follow Instructions
When you have decided to continue under the care of your doctor follow her instructions carefully. If you have any doubts, ask her as many times as you need to. Do not discontinue medication the day you start feeling better. Quite often we tend to ignore certain advise, which involves lifestyle changes such as regular exercise or a daily constitutional. Remember there is no advise, which is less or more important. If there are some instructions that you genuinely can not follow, inform your doctor. She in all likelihood will offer you an alternative that you will find more suitable.
6. Be a Patient Patient
During bouts of ill health, patience is difficult to muster. We all want to regain good health as soon as posssible. we must understand that our doctor is not a magician. Medicines which work instantaneously are yet to be discovered. The simple truth is that healing takes time. Lifestyle changes if required take even longer to take effect. The best way to recover from a bout of illness is to first accept your situation, understand what your doctor is trying to achieve and wait patiently for the time to come for you to resume normal life.