Dealing with a frustrating doctors appointment
As an IBD patient, I feel like I have doctor appointments scattered through my calendar every single week. Some of these are routine – primary care physician, gastroenterologist, rheumatologist, therapist, labs, infusions, others are spontaneous – when I’m not feeling well, when new or concerning symptoms arise, when I have questions or concerns about my health management; but they all have one thing in common – expectations.
When I make and walk into an appointment, I always have expectations. What the doctor may ask of me/what I need to share with them, what questions I have, what concerns I have, and what I hope the outcome to be (whether that be a peace of mind, medication adjustments, referrals, tests ordered, etc.). The thing is, appointments don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, in fact, I walk out feeling incredibly frustrated.
When this happens, I do a few things in response:
1) I let myself acknowledge and feel my feelings. Sometimes this means calling my husband or another IBD friend to vent, other times it’s just processing my thoughts alone.
2) I practice self-care. Whether this means taking a long shower, stopping to get a snack on my way home, or going for a walk, this involves basically just being kind to myself.
3) I figure out which way to go. Does addressing the frustration involve a follow-up call or email to the doctor with questions or concerns? Does it involve scheduling another appointment to approach things differently? Or does it possibly involve identifying where I felt let down, and if it might be best in the long run to find a new doctor/specialist?
In my opinion, frustrating doctor appointments for chronic illness patients can be a dime a dozen, but also have a large and lasting impact on our approach to disease management and overall health.
If you’ve experienced a frustrating appointment, how have you dealt with the situation?
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